Beowulf: The Five Knightly Virtue

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The middle ages were a far different world compared to what society is like today. People in that era, especially people of nobility, practiced and followed certain rules and regulations that kept them in line and in order. The knights of the middle ages, being a model of societal prowess, followed what is now known as the Five Knightly virtues. The virtues consist of a set of five basic rules that one must follow in order to be considered worthy of being an honorable knight. The Five Knightly virtues are: Friendship, Generosity, Courtesy, Chastity, and Piety. These rules went hand-in-hand with the rules of Chivalry that a knight was also required to follow, and both sets of rules had a similar basic premise: be a kind and loving person, do…show more content…
This was quite a large change from the previous era of Beowulf, when Christianity was a new religion that quite recently took over Paganism, and as a result of the religion being unknown and unfamiliar, the only rules of being a Christian was to believe in God. This was the reasoning behind why the Heroic Code of Beowulf is so much different from the Knightly Virtues of Sir Gawain: Christianity and its ever expanding knowledge forced such a set of rules to change into something that more closely fit the scripture of the Bible. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, being based in the time period when the Five Knightly Virtues was the model to follow and respect, was a very important topic, and was the basis for the lessons learned in the story. Sir Gawain was a model knight, who followed the Knightly Virtues very closely, and even posed to learn quite a few very valuable lessons in this tale in which the author is unknown. More specifically, there were three virtues that Gawain followed so closely, they are what made him the man that everyone has such admiration…show more content…
It was a very orderly society, in which all of its citizens were always required to act and behave a certain way. Women had to behave as ladies, peasants knew their place, and the nobility had the Five Knightly Virtues. Many knights found these virtues as well as the rules of Chivalry to be quite difficult to follow, and many found the rules impossible to follow in their entirety. Gawain was a hero among heroes, who showed knights as well as commoners that it is possible to be a great heroic person, and still follow the rules in which one person must follow to keep the honor in which they have earned. It is unclear whether Sir Gawain was based off of a real hero in that time period, or whether he was just a character invented by the writer. Nonetheless, it is no mistake that Sir Gawain was a knight that everyone adored, and sought out to be. Sir Gawain showed his excellence as a knight for closely following all of the Five Knightly Virtues, but more specifically the virtues of Friendship, Courtesy, and Chastity. He was a model for all knights to follow, and it truly doesn’t matter whether of not he was a real person. Sir Gawain has inspired many to strive to excellence for many hundreds of years. Without “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, stories that show people striving for excellence may not have continued to exist. A world

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