Chivalry courtly love essay

The term ‘courtly love’ conjures up images of romantic liaisons between knights and ladies, or colourful jousting tournaments overlooked by adoring female spectators. Widely popular in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, courtly love was characterised by a series of stylised rituals between a knight and a married lady of high rank. These idealised customs were based on the traditional codes of conduct associated with knighthood, such as duty, honour, courtesy and bravery. Just as the knight owed obedience and loyalty to his lord, enduring hardship and dangers in his service, so he must show faithful devotion and obedience to his lady, performing heroic deeds in an effort to win her favour. Typically the knight’s love is unrequited, and the real reward for his devoted service is an educational one. These relationships and rituals became a powerful force in shaping the literature of the day, in particular through their significant contribution to the ever popular tales of romance and chivalry.

A proper chivalric knight must be:

  1. able-bodied;
  2. of good lineage;
  3. have sufficient wealth to support his rank;
  4. wise (to judge his inferiors and supervise their labors; to advise his lord);
  5. generous within the limits of his means;
  6. loyal;
  7. courageous;
  8. honorable.
His ethical duties are
  1. to defend the Christian faith,
  2. to defend his lord,
  3. to protect the weak (women, children);
  4. to exercise constantly by hunting and jousting in tournaments;
  5. to judge the people and supervise their work;
  6. to pursue robbers and evil-doers.;
  7. to avoid pride, lechery, false oaths, and treachery.
"All manner of thing shall be well/ When the tongues of flame are in-folded/ Into the crowned knot of fire/ And the fire and the rose are one." -- . Eliot, Little Gidding

These virtues became more idealized as time went on. Changes in military tactics, such as the successful use of the longbow against the French cavalry in the battles of Crécy and Agincourt lessened the importance of the cavalry. (However, the true end of the knight was brought about by the use of gunpowder and guns.) In times of peace throughout the later Middle Ages and as late as the end of the 16th century, the role of the knight was promoted and extolled through highly stylized tournaments that bore little resemblance to the bloody warfare in which the "typical knight" had once participated. (Early tournaments were actually very similar to war. They originally included many participants battling each other at once in a chaotic mock war, though they later evolved to the popular, one-on-one jousting we all know.) When even the tournaments went out of fashion, knighthood became less and less tied to warfare, and increasingly indicated social status.
Knighthoods are still issued in:

  • The United Kingdom (see British honours system) and some Commonwealth countries.
  • The Netherlands. The Dutch equivalent word is ridder, ., in Ridder in de Orde van Oranje–Nassau
  • Denmark - Dannebrogordenen (Order of Dannebrog)
  • Malaysia - Datuk
  • The Holy See (see http:///vatican/).
Presumably there are other monarchies that also follow the practice. Modern knighthoods are typically awarded in recognition for services rendered to society, services which are no longer necessarily martial in nature. The musician Elton John, for example, is entitled to call himself Sir Elton. The female equivalent is a Dame.

While the Alternative Accounts relied on various sources from Vulgate Cycle and Post-Vulgate Cycle , and from the writers, such as Chretien de Troyes, Robert de Boron, and Sir Thomas Malory. Since the alternative version is larger and varied greatly, I had to divide this into several pages. I had named the early life of Arthur on this alternative version, Legend of Excalibur. The Alternative Tradition also includes the Vulgate Cycle — Lancelot , Queste del Saint Graal , and Mort le roi Artu . (See Vulgate Cycle .)

Chivalry courtly love essay

chivalry courtly love essay

While the Alternative Accounts relied on various sources from Vulgate Cycle and Post-Vulgate Cycle , and from the writers, such as Chretien de Troyes, Robert de Boron, and Sir Thomas Malory. Since the alternative version is larger and varied greatly, I had to divide this into several pages. I had named the early life of Arthur on this alternative version, Legend of Excalibur. The Alternative Tradition also includes the Vulgate Cycle — Lancelot , Queste del Saint Graal , and Mort le roi Artu . (See Vulgate Cycle .)

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