The Medieval Chivalric Romance

 

chivalry in literature

Chivalry in the Middle Ages was a moral, religious and social code of knightly and courtly conduct. The code varied, but it often emphasized honor, courage and service. Chivalry in the Middle Ages may also refer to an idealized life and a knight’s manners while among his court. Literary chivalry and historical reality. Fans of chivalry have assumed since the late medieval period that there was a time in the past when chivalry was a living institution, when men acted chivalrically, when chivalry was alive and not dead, the imitation of which period would much improve the present. The word chivalry brings forth romantic feelings in both men and women around the world. Write a research paper or essay on chivalry. Your literature research paper could discuss Knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, and fair play all often come to mind.


Chivalry in Research Papers for Literature


His companion Sir Hector mourns for him, giving us a portrait of the perfect chivalric knight:. And you were the most courteous knight that ever bore shield!

And you were the truest friend to your lover that ever bestrode horse; you were the truest lover, of a sinful man, that ever loved woman, and you chivalry in literature the kindest man that ever struck with sword. Lancelot was undefeated in battle — he had the greatest prowess of all. But that alone was not what made him the best knight in the world.

The perfect knight is never angry without good cause, never irrational or out of control. Usage terms Public Domain in most countries other than the UK. The chivalrous knight of the Middle Ages had begun as a simple warrior, an armed man who rode a horse into battle, fighting with spear and sword.

But as the literature of medieval romance began to blossom in the 12th century, a sophisticated culture of courtly behaviour between men and women began to change the idealised image of a knight. To be a great knight no longer meant only to be great in battle; it was necessary to be a perfect courtier too — a sportsman, musician, chivalry in literature, poet — and to play the sophisticated games of courtly love. Each knight is to fight for the sake of chivalry in literature lady; with his victories he earns her love, and defends her honour.

He is absolutely loyal to her and will follow her every command, whatever happens — whether she sends him on an impossible quest, banishes him from her company, or stands accused of some terrible crime, in desperate need of his help.

Here, chivalry in literature, tragedy enters the picture. The tragic, chivalry in literature, chivalry in literature love of Lancelot and Guinevere cannot culminate in marriage: instead it ends in death, chivalry in literature.

Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere, Romeo and Juliet: each is bound by impossible love, the lovers doomed by circumstance. He swears he will die if he cannot look upon her beauty again, chivalry in literature, speaks of his weeping and his pain, and asks that if she loves him no more she should release him to die.

Before this medieval ideal, classical heroes had fallen in love and had died. But never before had love been celebrated, as the goal of life and a worthy cause for which to die. Why is love so closely linked with death in literature?

The answer is simple. All loves end — either the lovers part or they die. So if love chivalry in literature to be perfect — if we are to know it was perfect and did not peter out into coldness or end in betrayal — then it must end with death.

In his courtly dream-vision poem The Book of the Duchess c. He finally manages to fall asleep, and has a dream in which he enters a forest and meets a Black Knight who is lamenting the loss of his beautiful wife. Only at the end of the dream does the Dreamer understand what the Black Knight is trying to tell him — that his lady is dead. The Black Knight symbolises the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, uncle of King Richard II and one of the most powerful men in the land, whose first wife Blanche of Lancaster died in her early twenties and was widely mourned.

The Book of the Duchess must have pleased the Duke, for Chaucer subsequently made a career in royal service. But Chaucer adds something more — a subtle comparison, for his courtly, aristocratic audience to debate. At the end of the poem the Black Knight must leave his lament and leave the forest to return to the court — just as the real John of Gaunt must marry again.

His loss is tragic, as his love was perfect, but he must recover. And in comparison we have the figure of the Dreamer, whose suffering has lasted years: what is wrong with him?

His beloved will not love him, or she has left him. For that loss, unlike the pure and idealised grief of the Black Knight, there is no remedy and there can be no recovery. In all periods, readers have taken pleasure in reading about sorrow, chivalry in literature.

Writing which celebrates grief chivalry in literature us that we are not alone, and that our grief too may be remembered. But medieval literature did not only turn to love in its tragic form.

But the Church insisted that the sacrament of marriage was only chivalry in literature with the full, chivalry in literature, willing consent of both husband and wife.

So we can see another cultural purpose to this literature, which is full of love at first sight, love as recognition of beauty and status which are always combined with virtue and loyalty. This literature shows its audience an aestheticised version of their economic reality, making beautiful the transactions of aristocratic marriage. But there are only so many life lessons that can be drawn from this literature, which above all else venerates love in its most perfect form while leaving space for lovers to imagine this perfection in their own ways.

He lay awake all night, suffering and sighing; constantly he recalled in his heart her words and looks, her clear eyes and beautiful mouth, so that pain struck to his heart. You can love in such a way that your love will be well-lodged. Whoever wishes to love my lady must think most highly of her. This love will be admirable, if you are both loyal. You are handsome and she is beautiful. The two lovers are noble, beautiful, courtly and virtuous; he is a great knight, and she is a perfect lady.

This is the ideal of medieval love which culminates in marriage. The ideal is made to be adaptable, malleable: it can fit whoever is appropriate. Courtly love is an ideal of devotion to the most beautiful, courtly lady. In every romance there will be a new knight who is the chivalry in literature of all, and he will love chivalry in literature be loved by a new lady who is the most beautiful. Conquest and Transformation.

The text in this article is available under the Creative Commons License, chivalry in literature. Love and chivalry in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages, the greatest knight was not simply the greatest warrior.

He was also kind, courteous, generous and devoted to his lady: qualities that combined to produce perfect chivalry. Laura Ashe explores the ideal of chivalry through several works of the period. Fighting for love The chivalrous knight of the Middle Ages had begun as a simple warrior, an armed man who rode a horse into battle, fighting with spear and sword.

Doomed lovers: The chivalry in literature of death and tragedy The tragic, idealised love of Lancelot and Guinevere cannot culminate in marriage: instead it ends in death. Learning how to love: Courtship and marriage But medieval chivalry in literature did not only turn to love in its tragic form.

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Love and chivalry in the Middle Ages - The British Library

 

chivalry in literature

 

The word chivalry brings forth romantic feelings in both men and women around the world. Write a research paper or essay on chivalry. Your literature research paper could discuss Knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, and fair play all often come to mind. Chivalry in the Middle Ages was a moral, religious and social code of knightly and courtly conduct. The code varied, but it often emphasized honor, courage and service. Chivalry in the Middle Ages may also refer to an idealized life and a knight’s manners while among his court. Literary chivalry and historical reality. Fans of chivalry have assumed since the late medieval period that there was a time in the past when chivalry was a living institution, when men acted chivalrically, when chivalry was alive and not dead, the imitation of which period would much improve the present.