Is Chivalry Dead? Essay

954 words - 4 pages

Chivalry; the act of being ‘gentlemanly’; has changed dramatically over the years. ‘Is Chivalry Dead?’ is the most frequently asked question on the topic. There are obviously going to be different views on the answer but the changing era’s need to be taken into consideration first.Chivalry first came to be known in the medieval ages thanks to Knights. It was referred to the title of the medieval institution of knighthood and the values/ideals of; knightly virtues, honour and courtly love. It was assimilated by some as being a ‘warrior’s code’, which was tweaked by the church in later years. The word itself actually comes from the French word chevalier, which means Knight in the English language. Eventually, the word came to have and aristocratic connotation: distinguishing a wealthy knight on horseback from a peasant etc. Knights in war were referred to as chivalrous if they were brave in battle, loyal to his king and God and if he was willing to sacrifice his life for the good of his defence or attack. Towards fellow countrymen, knights were to be merciful, humble and courteous, whereas above all, to noble ladies they would be gracious and gentle; courtly love. When it came to courting women, knights had to woo a lady; it was the idea that a nobleman would dedicate his life to the love of a/his lady. Knights would write poetry, letters and songs, anything to serenade and get into the good graces of the lady of his heart and would then build up enough ego to ask his lady to dance, when appropriate. It was all rather innocent and sweet and the more ‘sissy’ in modern thoughts, the better it was in those days.Chivalry in the early to mid 1900s, I like to refer to as the age of ‘gentlemen’. People see movies with people like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelley in them and men would follow their stereotypes to please the women of that era. Men took dance classes so they would feel confident going ‘out on the town’ with a lady, some who could, would sing, they would never let a women pay and basically treated women like princesses to the extent of their pocket budget. It all went to pleasing women, outside the home if married. Then the un-equality comes to mind. Women would be an asset to a man in professional public places; it wasn’t accepted for a woman to be the breadwinner or to have a true opinion to be taken into consideration of the workforce or life once she was with a man. Women fought it but the world was so man-dominated that it’s taken a long time to get as far as we’ve come. It was still nice to be courted though as all women had to do was look pretty, dress nice, dance, hold a...

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