CHEVALIER The middle ages is the period between antiquity and the Renaissance, dated between 500 and 1500 A.D. Chivalry was the code of values for the true knight. During these times there were a great number of kingdoms and all of them needed protection, so many men became knights. The word chivalry comes from the French word for knight, chevalier, which comes from the Old French word for militia, chevalerie. Chivalry’s best example is a christian knight.
Roland from Roland and Arthur from The Once and Future King were good examples of this. An ideal man for the Medieval Cosmos is the Christian knight. War was one of the knight’s strengths. At all times, knights were couragous. Roland takes an army full of men with very low chances of defeating them.
This proves their bravery. Lancelot defeats many experienced knights in order to save Guenivere. The Christian knight was also a worthy opponent in battle. Lancelot won every competition that had to do with battle. Over thirty men were defeated by Roland single handedly. Both Lancelot and Roland were two good examples proving that knights were good in fighting.
Honor is also one of the Christian knight’s ways. Pride was in all of the knights. Roland wouldn’t let anybody touch his sword in his dying moments. Knights can sometimes be compared to the Klingons in “Star Trek.” The Christian knight always accepted challenges. To refuse is dishonorable because it displays weakness. Lancelot fought Gawaine even though he felt it was unneccasary. These examples displayed a knight’s honor.
The true Christian knight observed all social customs. He is Christian as specified in his name. Christianity was a big part in most if not all of the lives in the world. Arthur, Lancelot, Roland, and almost every other knight in the world was Christian. Knights went through courtly love.
Arthur met Guenever through this ritual. Lancelot also met Elaine through courtly love. These are both ways that the true Christian knight succumbed to all social customs. Courtesy and kindness was another attribute in the true Christian knight. They always helped anyone in need.
Though vulnerable to attack, Arthur once took off his armor so he could help someone get something out of a tree. This also exhibits bravery. An unarmed man would never be harmed by a knight. An example of this is in The Once and Future King when knights were reprimanded when they did so. This is somewhat because it was dishonorable.
Both of these were ways that the true Christian knight was courteous and kind. These are both ways that the true Christian knight acceded to all social customs. The medieval man pursued the title of the true Christian knight through chivalry. Japan had a code of honor similar to chivalry. The true Christian knight was the hero of the middle ages. He best portrayed life in the middle ages because he presented the goals of the members of society during this time. The literature shows this because life was centered around the true Christian knight and the wars that battled in.
The courage to do what is based on the code of honor heedless of the result or the criticism of others is chivalry. I point this out because people may not take this the right way for example: a gentleman always opens the door for the lady. This may offend the lady but the true lady is to let the gentleman do the proper thing. Chivalry is often looked upon as a code for knights in medieval times. Chivalry is actually going on all the time.
Its just decision making and doing the right thing. It deals with honor, courage, generosity, and forgiveness which are the basics of righteousness. We can make the rest of the world better by making ourselves better. Chivalry is the ideal code of ethical behavior. The Biblical definition is Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
By living by this code, we can make the world a better place by doing the proper thing for the simple reason that it is the proper thing.