Courtly Love In The Knight Of The Cart

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Courtly love in the medieval romance story of Lancelot (also known as The Knight of the Cart) is the driving force of this famous romance beloved for generations. This proves to be an interesting subject, seeing is a lot of other medieval stories do not focus on love and instead, show it in a rather negative light. This was obviously seen in another medieval story, Njal’s Saga, where not only were marriages arranged and sometimes unwanted by one or both parties, the relationships between men and women were rought with conflict, hatred, and sometimes even murder. The women were not beautiful, diminutive, helpless creatures; they were as strong as their male counterparts. Men also had relatively no interest in love, only of going on grand adventures…show more content…
Earlier on in the story, Lancelot is asked by the woman who provided him shelter if he would escort her so that she may accompany him; “sir, if you dare to escort me according to the customs and usages that have been observed in the kingdom of Logres since before our days, I will accompany you some distance along this way.’....The customs and practices at this time were such that if a knight encountered a damsel or girl alone..he would as soon cut his own throat than treat her dishonorably, if he prized his good name”(The Knight of the Cart, p. 223). Not only were ladies not thought of as being strong enough to protect themselves outside their homes, but knights were looked upon with dishonor if they did not comply with the unspoken rule to look after a woman who is alone. Guinevere also needs saving when she is taken by Meleagant. Even when she is found later on in the story, we see she has made no attempt to take matters into her own hands by leaving Meleagant and his father, King Bademagu. She spends her days waiting on a hero like Lancelot to come sweep her off her feet and return her to her kingdom. Its as if herself and other women in the story are not intelligent enough to think on their own and save themselves. Nonetheless, the mere fact that she is “in distress” and “kept away” seems to make her all the more…show more content…
This was a way of showing chivalry to her, letting her know that he had acted as a true knight, another aspect of “courtly love”. He mentions often throughout the story how he would gladly lose his life for her, he would fight for her endlessly, go to the ends of the earth for her and more. King Bademagu himself notes Lancelot’s bravery and is astonished with him; “sir, I am astounded that you have fought your way into this land among us...Never has it happened and never will it happen that anyone but you will have the courage to face such danger. Know that I esteem you all the more for having done this deed that no one before you dared even contemplate”(The Knight of the Cart, p. 223). 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
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