Middle Age Morals
The Middle Ages were full of kings and queens, princes and princesses. The ones who protected them were the knights. They were to ride with “chivalry, trust, honor, generosity, and courtesy.” (Chaucer, “General Prologue” 142). Most of the knights from The Middle Ages always upheld their moral code; however, some did not. Which leads to the question of, “Were all knights in The Middle Ages moral?” Three knights from Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales and “Sir Gawain the Green Knight” possess both immoral and moral characteristics.
The knight from “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” was the most immoral out the three knights. The knight broke his moral code when, “By very force he took her maidenhead.” (Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” 182). This validates that he did not ride with chivalry, generosity, or courtesy. Knights are supposed to protect women and respect them; he decided to take advantage of a vulnerable young maiden. This deed that is considered punishable by death displays that he lacks morals and believes he can commit any act (immoral or moral) that he desires. The knight’s immorality is also illustrated when he protests and complains, trying to maneuver his way out of his word of honor with an old woman. “Old lady, by the Lord I know that such my [promise], but for God’s love think of a new request …” (Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” 187). This action personifies how selfish the knight is, he only made the promise to save his own life, never intending to keep his word. Unlike this knight, Sir Gawain a knight from, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” exhibits a handful of moral characteristics as well as immoral.
Sir Gawain possesses both immoral and moral qualities. He firsts presents his immoral nature when he is deceitful, “When the lord returns at the end of the third day, Gawain gives him a kiss but not reveal the gift of the sash.” (“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” 235). With this action, he demonstrates that he loves and values his own life immensely; he is willing to lie to protect himself and risk his reputation. He was not honorable or trustworthy to the lord, knowing what he accepted from his wife and not acting misleading. He broke his knightly word along with his obligation to the lord. To not be honest in this age was unacceptable and punished by death most of the time. In some cases, your immoral deeds turned out to be a good thing. Despite being equivocal, his wrongdoing was revealed, “But since it was not for the sash itself or for lust. But because you loved your life, I blame you less.” (“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” 238). His adoration for life became a good thing; the lord recognized it as valuable. Sir Gawain displays moral and immoral...