The Morality of a Knight Have you or someone you know showed courage in your lives? There was and always will be many stories that probably have the same of amount of courage as the people you know or see in the news. One of those stories is “The Tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake”, which tells the tale of one of King Arthur’s most beloved and talented knight, Sir Launcelot. He loves to adventure and help others with moral courage. However, Sir Launcelot is not the only sense of moral courage in this story.
The primary way in which Lancelot asserts his masculinity in Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur is through his chivalric prowess. His prowess is incomparable, as any masculine display is too easy for Lancelot. Lancelot cannot be defeated, and in most cases his combat is not closely contested, because of his significant superiority. Although, size and brute strength do not, by themselves, make an ideal knight. Lancelot is also a handsome and modest man.
The Arthurian Legend of Lancelot has changed throughout the ages. Subsequently, the story “Lancelot, The Knight of the Cart” by Chrétien de Troyes and the poem “Lancelot and Elaine” by Alfred Lord Tennyson have contrasting plots, but they ultimately contain the same theme. In the multiple accounts of Lancelot, his actions create unique, different situations. In turn, he must live with the consequences of his actions. Lancelot has changed, and will continue to evolve, whether it is focused on his heroism or another aspect of his character.
Jerry Zucker's First Knight is an Arthurian adaptation that incorporates the meritocratic aspects of modern chivalry through its portrayal of Sir Lancelot. Sir Lancelot is a character who is a nomad before being taken in by King Arthur after he displays a great amount of courage through overcoming a treacherous gauntlet-styled obstacle course and by going out of his way to save Guinevere after she was kidnapped by Sir Malagant. He does not fight nor think like a traditional knight, preferring to use his speed, intelligence, and courage to win his battles as opposed to his strength like a traditional knight would. He exemplifies many aspects of chivalry, but breaks the traditions of it because of his background and his eccentricities and that
Chivalry was also seen in the short story From Morte D’Arthur. Chivalry is shown in From Morte D’Arthur by the loyalty that Sir Lancelot shows King Arthur. Sir Lancelot battles Sir Gawain for King Arthur as he is the favorite knight of King Arthur. “Here Lancelot is Arthur 's favorite, although he does kill Gawain 's brothers and commits adultery with the queen. And the final tragedy is that eventually Arthur and Lancelot end up battling each other as Camelot tears itself apart”(Adams).
Lancelot has met chivalric standards of behavior through technicalities – he technically is defending the queen’s honor against an technically untrue accusation. But a lie of omission is still a lie; Lancelot’s equivocal oath only serves to compromise his integrity, and his immorality makes a mockery of his further appeal to God. Not only is Lancelot committing the sin of adultery by sleeping with another man’s wife, he is committing it against his king, to whom he should owe fidelity above anyone else. Although a common trope in chivalric romance is the concept that the transforming power of love makes a knight into a better person, Chretien’s narrative twists that to illustrate that Lancelot’s love has arguably made him a worse
When his challenge is met with silence, the Green Knight demands, “Whose fame is so fair in far realms and wide? Where is now your arrogance and your awesome deeds, Your valor and your victors and your vaunting words! [. . .] Overwhelmed with a word of one man’s speech” (1.305 - 1.315). Shocked by the physical differences and brash challenges of the Green Knight, Arthur’s court forgets to abide by the chivalric code, which dictated the conventional understanding of human nature in that time period.
During the Medieval times chivalry was one of the most important characteristics a knight could display. Chivalry was viewed as a moral obligation that involved bravery, honor, respect, and gallantry. Knights were expected to uphold this code or face social consequences for any infractions, with punishments ranging from humiliation to termination of their knighthood. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” presents the struggles knights faced with honoring the chivalrous code at all times. Sir Gawain, while imperfect, exhibits qualities expected of knights and embodies the internal struggle between honoring the chivalrous code and giving into selfish desires.
There was once a time where knights were meant to be the epitome of chivalry; they symbolized honor, courage, justice and much more. However, not every knight matched the narrative of what a true knight should be. One way to teach people a certain value is through exemplary texts such as, “The wedding of King Arthur”. This story uses the knights and their actions to instruct the reader to be honorable by punishing the, shameful, dishonorable knights while rewarding the true and honorable one hence, guiding the reader towards a more honorable path. Sir Gawain does not show mercy to a defeated foe and is punished for it.
Lancelot was so gracious that even despite Queen Guenievre acting ungrateful for his efforts at first, he does not object to her words. Instead, like a “perfect lover”(The Knight of the Cart, p. 256) he apologizes and takes his leave, careful to not upset her further. This further demonstrates his loyalty to his
Compared to Gawain, Lancelot is easily influenced by his emotions. Another example is when Lancelot asks Guinevere for a kiss after she told him she was becoming a nun. He disrespected her wish to leave her past behind and had the audacity to ask for something so selfish.
There are a few codes of chivalry that he breaks because of Gwynevere. In a way he betrays King Arthur by staying as a guest in the palace knowing he will be able to be around Gwynevere and possibly tempt her. Lancelot’s only motivation to become a knight is Gwynevere and to still remain in Camalot. Even though he is a strong Knight that saves people, his weakens is a very small but powerful thing called love/
The lines 1550-1553 from the Pearl poets epic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight epitomizes two of the most important virtues of a noble knight, and Sir Gawain, the man the story follows, defines what is a true knight. He holds a place next to King Arthur and the queen as well as exemplifying two of a knights most important virtues. The first being chastity and the second being courteousness, both however, are very much entwined in this tale. Throughout this epic and many other Arthurian legends praised these traits in the knight and as we shall see, Sir Gawain although still very much human, is a master of both. The virtue of chastity is extremely important in Arthurian legend and we can see this from examining Gawain’s shield.
Lancelot often becomes suspicions of his lover over small acts. Both of these examples from the books are small acts that caused Lancelot considerable suspicion of his beloved. A kiss causes him to believe she didn’t have feelings for him and a logical argument for why they shouldn’t get together on one night made him think that she’d rather be with Arthur then him. These slight presumptions caused Lancelot to suspect his love,
Throughout this paper we will examine three ways in which the characters in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight attempt to cover up the underlying theme of violence within the narrative. During Fitt 1 of the poem, we uncover the first method in which the characters attempt to mask the fantasy of violence. In order to ensure their thirst for bloodshed does not spiral out of control, there are certain rules that the court must adhere to. The Court of Camelot places violence in a strict binary with courtesy.