Courtly Love vs. Chivalry Essay Example



During the middle ages, courtly love was a code of behavior between a lady and her lover, mostly seen between a poorer younger knight and an older, sometimes married, noblewoman. The relationship of courtly love was very much like the old fashioned relationship between a knight and his lord. The lover serves his beloved, in the manner of servant would serve his king. In all generations, most women look for a smart, brave and helpful man. More than half the time, women want to feel safe and respected by a man. During this time period, knights should have projected characteristics of chivalry. Chivalry was also seen, during these times, as a method of trying to impress and win over his beloved. Chivalry was a man being very masculine which was and still can be considered attractive to women. It's also about a man taking charge and the women not having to do or worry about much of anything. Back in the medieval times, women needed to focus on being feminine much like when you see stories from that time about princesses needing to be saved as such. Unbeknownst to most, it's very contradictory to want a relationship built on courtly love while still wanting a man to display chivalry or be chivalrous.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

In the book Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain shows honor to King Arthur by taking on the green knight to show his worthiness to him and his Camelot. Not only does the individual known as Sir Gawain show chivalry but, King Arthur's Camelot itself shows such because it portrays the chivalrous code of bravery, the fighting spirit and courtesy. These are characteristics that ment in King Arthur's court portrayal. Chivalry can also be seen in the instance when Sir Gawain was about to battle the green knight. “Gawain, with the weapon, walked toward the warrior, and they stood face to face, not one man afraid. The green knight spoke, growled at Gawain: “ before we compete, repeat what we've promised.

And start by saying your name to me sir, and tell me the truth that I can take it on trust”(Armitage pg45). In this instance chivalry can be seen through the bravery and the lack of fear on Sir Gawain's part. It is thought that a man is only as good as his word, and in that part of the green knight tells him that he's taking it on trust. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, satire can be shown with the example of chivalry. This can be shown as in the example in Sir Gawain when the warriors in the Kings Camelot do not see bravery or honor to the warrior that walked in after a battle. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when the warriors that had just battled walked in and showed his bravery while wounded, the others started the chant “he is going to die”. The satire in this would be when Sir Gawain shows his bravery against the green knight because no one thought he would win against the green knight.

Courtly love is very well seen in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, for example “Gawain and the beautiful woman found such comfort and closeness in each other's company through warm exchanges of whispered words and refined conversations free from foulness that their pleasure surpassed all princely sports by far” (Armitage pg89).  This example from Sir Gawain is recognized as satire in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the knight went to save the beautiful woman, but used her as bait to capture and to follow where they were going to hold her.

This is an example of satire; it clearly shows how courtly love can be used in so many ways. In the movie First Knight, courtly love is very well shown as for when the queen,which was married, was saved by the knight. Afterwards, she fell in love with him in response to the warm feeling of comfort between each other. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the queen was not saved but was instead captured because of her looks and was treated with no respect. This is an example of satire because women are not always related with respect just because of their looks, as opposed to in the movie First Knight.

Courtly Love and Chivalry Today

In today's day and age, a lot of people don't take chivalry to be too important nor are even familiar with the term, the same goes for courtly love. People are in such a rush to find a partner and cut to the chase but don't see how much enjoyment there is in the anticipation and the wait. Many people think that chivalry is dead and in a sense, they're right. It's thought nowadays that chivalry is synonymous with being “too nice” or even a “doormat”. Women want to be treated with respect and “have the man take control” but then gets mad when he does take control or whines about how “just because she's a woman she doesn't need a man making choices for her” again, hitting with that satire.

As for chivalry, I feel as if people don't seek out the true meaning and that is why this word is so important in everyday life. For instance, respect for authority and figures of authority, such as policemen, is at an all-time low. They go on with their everyday lives ready to protect and serve and that should be everyone, not just those dressed in uniform. Not only is this important, but I feel as if it should be shown more to get others to understand the value of others and how some risk their own lives to protect others. Courtly love, in the way that it was meant in the middle ages, is definitely dead today.

No one wants their spouse to be interested in someone else, no matter how chivalrous or respectful they might be. Courtly love, if seen today, would cause a lot of problems due to claims of cheating, hurt feelings and so much violence. With violence being as heavy as it is nowadays, courtly love would definitely cause a surge and there would be more fights, deaths and divorces. One might be able to argue that the world is much better off without courtly love and would be better off if people showed a little bit more honor and chivalry.