Hamlet: Chivalry Essay

1785 words - 7 pages

Hamlet: Chivalry

 

 

        It would be obvious to say that society changes over the years.

Yet as the years grow farther apart we tend to forget how those before us

lived their lives.  These historic ways of life are thankfully preserved in

literary works put down and documented centuries before us.  The goal of

this paper is to examine the extinct life style of chivalry and show how it

relates to William Shakespeare's play Hamlet.  Specifically The final act

and scene.

 

        As I began researching chivalry I found that there was a lot more

to it than draping my cape over a puddle for a lady.  It actually began not

as a way to conduct ones life but rather as a social and economic class.

The word chivalry has its roots in the middle French word for horseman,

chevalier.  Chivalry as defined in Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary

means "mounted men-at-arms."  Chevalier also gave birth to a word almost

identical to chivalry: cavalier.  Webster's defines cavalier as "a

gentlemen trained in arms and horsemanship."  These are also synonymous

with knight.  An interesting contradiction though is that the English

etymology of the word knight is trusted servant.  This comes form the

Anglo-Saxon word "cnyht" (De La Bere 35).  The idea of a knight being a

servant does not fit most people's ideas of knighthood or chivalry, but in

essence that is what a knight is.  A knight's duty is always to his king.

The duality of these roles is what makes chivalry unique. (Barber 9).

 

        So where did chivalry get its start?  Many believe it started with

the barbaric Huns or the Roman Empire.  Both civilizations had soldiers who

can be called knights, but there is controversy over which really

influenced what we now consider chivalry.  The Hun soldiers were

inseparable from their horses realizing the effectiveness of mounted attack.

A classical writer referred to them as "shaggy centaurs."  The Romans had

a class of soldiers they called the "equites."  These examples are related

to chivalry but different because of the way in which it began.  Chivalry

actually begins with the end of the empire of Charlemagne during the mid

eighth century.  A knight basically began as a horse mounted solider.  No

elaborate armor or weapon system was developed at first.  Soon, changes

were becoming evident.  During this time most who fought in battle were

free men and were called to do so only because they owed service to their

leader.  It was an obligation to duty, not a situation where they had to

participate if they really didn't want to.  Military equipment was very

expensive during this time and forced men to pool their resources.  Four

men may pool their resources and equip a fifth...

Find Another Essay On Hamlet: Chivalry

The Great Goddess Essay

5114 words - 20 pages former self, "a doll" without feelings, to be played with. It is in fact just one instance out of many of how everything that is "feminine" is "twisted", corrupted, and turned into its opposite.The archetypal Goddess reappears in Shakespeare's play " Hamlet" and threatens to destroy the hero's analytic rationality. Namely, because of their mythic unity, Hamlet is incapable of treating differently Ophelia as a Sacred Bride; his mother as Divine

Critical Appreciation of Shakespeare's To His Love Sonnet 106

2980 words - 12 pages twins, Hamnet and Judith, born in 1585. In 1594 Shakespeare became an actor and playwright for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the company that later became the King's Men under James I. Until the end of his London career Shakespeare remained with the company; it is thought that as an actor he played old men's roles, such as the ghost in Hamlet and Old Adam in As You Like It. In 1596 he obtained a coat of arms, and by

The Characters' Metamorphoses In Shakespeare’s Tempest-Universe

4420 words - 18 pages presence dictates that change can only be made for the good. Likewise, Gonzalo, Stephano, and Trinculo all represent characters unable to change. Stephano and Trinculo echo Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet as Shakespeare's absurdly existential characters serving as spiritually-void foils to the more important characters of the play. The island for these two has no increased or diminished value, because like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

The Myopia of Dystopia

5279 words - 21 pages receives. The source of knowledge that the society looks unfavorably upon was books. At first they did not burn books as they thought they could just shorten them. "Classic cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column...whose sole knowledge, as I say, of Hamlet was a one-page digest in a book claimed: now at last you can read all the classics; keep up with your neighbors."(Bradbury 50). By shortening

When the Bubble Burst

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages Introduction: Chemical equilibrium is a crucial topic in Chemistry. To represent and model equilibrium, the thermodynamic concept of Free energy is usually used. For a multi-component system the Gibbs free energy is a function of Pressure, Temperature and quantity (mass, moles) of each component. If one of these parameters is changed, a state change to a more energetically favorable state will occur. This state has the lowest free energy

Revolutionary Work of Art

1890 words - 8 pages Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art

Enlightenment Thought in New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages In this essay I will be looking at how the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment have shaped New Zealand Education. I will also be discussing the perennial tension of local control versus central control of education, and how this has been affected by the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which beginnings of were marked by the Glorious Revolution in Britain

Psychological Egoism Theory

2240 words - 9 pages The theory of psychological egoism is indeed plausible. The meaning of plausible in the context of this paper refers to the validity or the conceivability of the theory in question, to explain the nature and motivation of human behavior (Hinman, 2007). Human actions are motivated by the satisfaction obtained after completing a task that they are involved in. For example, Mother Teresa was satisfied by her benevolent actions and

How Celtic Folkore has Influenced My Family

1587 words - 6 pages Every family has a unique background that influences the way they live and interact with other people. My parents, who emigrated from Ireland to the States with my three brothers in 1989, brought over their own Celtic folklore and traditions that have helped shaped the way our family operates and lives. One aspect of folklore that has helped shape my family dynamic is the Celtic cross—both its background and what role it has played in our lives

Julia Margaret Cameron

1406 words - 6 pages At a time when women were looked upon as being homemakers, wives, mothers and such the late 1850's presented a change in pace for one woman in specific. Photography was discovered in 1826 and soon after the phenomenon of photography was being experimented with and in turn brought new and different ways of photo taking not only as documenting real time, but also conceptualizing a scene in which an image would be taken. Julia Margaret Cameron will

Similar Essays

Chivalry Essay

644 words - 3 pages “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence”(Powell). Striking the manifesting ideals of loyalty in English Literature reflects a strong sense of character in the tales of Beowulf, Hamlet, and King Arthur. Bound to the history of the medieval times, their loyalty to their people, church, and effect on modern day chivalry has made a large impact. The medieval times were always known for

Hamlet Notes On Theme And Character

3089 words - 12 pages described by Guildenstern as possessing a 'crafty madness'. The audience are certainly in doubt as to the genuine nature of his 'act', and have no doubts at all that he is a prisoner of conscience in that he for one reason or another can't act against anyone except fitfully against the women of the play and rashly against one not-so-innocent eavesdropper. Such ill-considered actions and lack of chivalry...The ghost had told Hamlet specifically to

Western Humanities Final Take Home Exam

1575 words - 7 pages Story of the Grail, and Hamlet, we are able to observe the societal values of each culture displayed through parent-child relationships. By observing these relationships, we can learn about the context of the society each piece was written in, as well as the values the societies esteem so highly that they are taught to the most impressionable members. The most obviously displayed parent-child relationship in Homer’s The Odyssey is the one between

The Clash Of The Rapier In Shakespeare's Plays

1200 words - 5 pages Everyone knows the twenty passes, turn, and fire. This is a classic image of a duel. Before, however, duels were fought with the long sharp blades of a rapier. Some professionally fought with a call to fight, but some fought on the brink of the moment. A duel was meant to defend one’s honor. It was better to die than to live in shame. This was shown in Shakespeare's Richard II, Henry IV, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and many others. Shakespeare