There are many different standards and traditions of chivalry in The Arthurian Legends. Some of those standards and traditions are still practiced today. On James Marshall’s website, “The Code of Chivalry and Courtly Love,” there are many different codes of chivalry that are still being practiced today in society. People today exhibit signs of the codes such as truth, honor, justice, loyalty, and courtesy. When the Chivalry code started people showed a fear of God, they served the liege Lord in valour and faith, they also lived by honor, and that they must never lie or go back on one’s word.
CHIVALRY IS DEAD IN MODERN MEN The term “chivalry” emerged around the 10th century A.D. in France, referring to the medieval institution of knighthood that developed between 1170 and 1220. The code of chivalry back then represented a combination of Christian and military ideas of morality. As time progressed, the real meaning of the word disappeared and was mated with the fancies of love that resulted in a new definition that stressed on social and moral values. Chivalry got romanticized.
In medieval times, chivalry was something that many men lived up to. If a man lived up to the expectations of chivalry he was said to be loyal, brave and courageous. For some it was difficult to follow certain codes especially when it came to romance, an example: Sir Lancelot in the movie “First Knight.” Medieval romance was taken seriously during its time. Not only did men/knights have to follow rules and codes about war, but also about romance.
Chivalry was a code where knights would vow to do no wrong, be loyal to the King, to give mercy to those who ask for it, and to be courteous and helpful to women (Doc E). Knights beliefs were also very religion centered, as shown in The Son of Roland “God, I acknowledge my guilt and I beg for Thy mercy for all the sins, greater and lesser, which I have committed from the hour my birth until this day … Angels descend out of heaven and come to him” (Doc
The concept of Chivalry has baffled countless medieval historians throughout the years. Chivalry was supposedly a code that knights and nobles lived their lives by. Similarly to other social structures that were in place in the past historians have struggled to draw conclusions as to the extent to which people lived according to chivalric principles. Sir Walter Scott believed that knights aspired to the code of chivalry, but that in the real world the code was impossible to live according to such a code. This conclusion gives a clear picture of chivalry.
In nearly every era, expectations have been widely expressed and acknowledged. Whether or not people chose to adhere to different standards was their choice, most likely depending on how attainable the ideals were. In the middle ages, women did not appear to be particularly important and their standards probably had more to do with being a good wife. However, ideals for men, specifically knights, were set in stone: knights were to be fierce and ruthless on the battlefield, yet gentle and nurturing in their everyday lives. In theory, chivalry sounds like a genius solution to create the perfect man, but in reality, expectations were set too high.
The film keeps the fantastical elements of the King Arthur mythos and, above all else, puts the emphasis on the classical elements of chivalry while still including some of the more contemporary elements as well. The film does make Perceval a character who is able to display chivalrous qualities by becoming a knight through display of courage and loyalty to Sir Lancelot when he is late for a duel to defend Queen Guinevere's honor. Perceval's dubbing as a knight is highly unlikely because he had no noble blood and he did not demonstrate courage in battle, but it did demonstrate his loyalty and courage to Lancelot to the King, Queen, and Lancelot which are defining traits of classical chivalry. The rest of the film, however, does a good job of presenting a more realistic depiction of how chivalry as an ideal and how it was challenged in the Middle Ages. Each knight is loyal, courageous, battle tested by participating in the formation and eventual downfall of Camelot, aristocratic with the exception of Perceval, and dedicated to the quests they were given to the point of sacrificing their lives during the quest for the Holy Grail and the final battle against Mordred.
Froissart glorified these things, despite the fact that the institution of chivalry was actually in decline at the time. As Rosenwein points out, the growing use of mercenary troops and the rise of modern weaponry caused knights and nobles to be less important than they had been before. Yet, because of the writings of Froissart and others, “the end of chivalry was paradoxically the height of the chivalric fantasy. ”4 In certain parts of his Chronicles, Froissart hints at the idea of courtly love, which was central to the chivalric ideal.
Another part of the code of chivalry is loyalness. Being loyal plays a big role in the world of knights. Sir tristan was definitely one to be labeled as loyal. The reason why I put so much emphasis on sir tristan being so loyal was because of the good deeds he had done in his time of being a knight.
A social code called chivalry was created for knights in medieval Europe, stressing ideas such as courage, loyalty, and devotion which is seen as a good thing. The ideal knight was loyal, brave courageous, and protected the weak and poor, but most knights failed to do this, treating the lower classes brutally (Doc 5). Gothic style architecture could also be considered part of the Golden Age because of its extravagance. Unfortunately, large churches called Cathedrals were built in the style using the church's dirty money; it showed off the church’s wealth (Doc 9). The time period could be called Golden since older knowledge was preserved and influenced the future.
But the question is: how can we tell the difference between machism and courtesy? There are a lot of acts which can be seen as machism, when they are only courtesy acts. The same, an argument for machism people is that women should be thankful because machism is just “chivalry”. We need a way out of this
History has repeatedly given men privilege due to their physical advantages; yet it is these same advantages that have developed into “rules” or expectations that all men should conform to in order to prove their manhood. Michael Kimmel’s essay, “‘Bros Before Hos': The Guy Code” outlines the “rules” where men are expected to never show any emotions, be brave, act knowledgeable, be risk takers, be in control, act reliable, and be competitive, otherwise they would be showing weakness which is analogous to women. It is humiliating that men associate weakness with women; they should focus on the potential of the individual rather than their gender. Most insults toward men attack their masculinity because society finds it shameful for men to be
Medieval narratives were full of serious events, royalty, battles, and adventure. In the movie, “Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail,” everything is changed into a mockery. The events in the narratives that once seemed so serious become a joke. The battles that had meaning now are humorous and the “noble quests” are more of a child’s made up adventure. Chivalry is dead, and it does not even seem like it ever existed.
In comparison to men, women were thought to be fragile and innocent. This was mostly because of the Code of Chivalry which caused men to be kinder and more gentlemanly to women creating a romanticized image of women. She was overall respected and not normally deceived. The role of women during the medieval time period was also particularly different from the ones of the classical period. The women were involved in the public affairs of the estate, unlike Greek and Rome.
In Robert Jensen’s article “The High Cost of Manliness”, he states that the idea of masculinity is a bad thing and they should get rid of it. This article debates on the common stereotypes of men, as he states: “That dominant conception of masculinity in U.S. Culture is easily summarized: Men are assumed to be naturally competitive and aggressive, and being a real man is therefore marked by the struggle for control, conquest, and domination” (par. 4). Nonetheless, there are some traits that men and woman share, such as, caring, compassion, and tenderness. These traits often depend on the situation, since a man cannot always be this way, whereas, a woman is often expected to have these traits.