“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Song of Roland”
Chivalry: “Gawain and Roland”
Chivalry is a term relating to the medieval institution of knighthood that is associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honor and courtly love. Chivalry was the belief and practice of knights in the Middle Ages and even today. Today, the term chivalry is used to describe courteous behavior, especially that of men towards women. Chivalry was a code of ethics upheld by noble knights who were loyal, courteous, protective, gentle and honorable to all, including enemies. Knights sought love and glory. However, their desire for love and glory was not self-centered, but instead it was first for his lady and king. Knights who were courageous, humble, obedient, and chaste lived according to three things: honor, courage and fidelity. The code of knighthood stressed loyalty to their military leader, participation in wars, and courage. Their church codes stressed protection, humility, and service to the weak and poor. Women were literally treated as queens as they were respected and worshiped by these chivalric men. A knight's love for a lady was known as courtly love. To a knight, love and war was the ultimate sacrifice. Knights upheld their lady's every desired urge, no matter what the cost, even if it meant death. Chivalry was important because it brought order to the chaos that surrounded the feudal medieval times.
There are hundreds of tales of knights who personified the concept of chivalry, slew huge dragons, slew legions of foes in single combat, and still made it home in time to return to their ‘normal’ lives. Yet, of all these tales, ballads and poems, a few have risen to the fore front of the genre as an example for the rest of the stories to follow. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is governed by the chivalric codes of behavior. The code of chivalry, in particular, shapes the values and actions of Sir Gawain in the poem. “The Song of Roland”...