Examples Of Chivalry And Courtly Love In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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The years 1066-1485 were the Middle Ages, and this literary period was known for the Norman conquest, the age and decline of feudalism, and chivalry. Adoring a particular lady (not necessarily one’s wife) was seen as a means of self improvement and this would make a knight braver and nobler. Chivalry was center to one aspect: courtly love, which was nonsexual. Knights could wear their ladies colours in battle, or he could glorify her in words and be inspired by her, but their lady always remained out of reach and was set above her admirer. Geoffrey Chaucer, Giovanni Boccaccio, and the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - some of the most famous writers during the Middle Ages - incorporated chivalry and courtly love into their writings to illustrate the positive effects of the gender roles in that time period. In Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses the tale of the knight to develop this idea of chivalry and courtly love. This is a tale of 29 pilgrims going on a 55 mile journey to a shrine, but because Chaucer could not develop any one character at great length, he instead depicts each pilgrim with a few, well-chosen details to make their character stand out. Chaucer speaks fondly of the knight when he writes, “Who from the day on which he first began / To ride abroad had followed chivalry, / Truth, honor, generousness, and courtesy” (Chaucer, lines 44-46). Chaucer highlights the key characteristics that a chivalrous individual should have, in order to prove how the knight

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