Tracing Chivalry Through Knighthood Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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the commanding position, proving one?s power by letting the opponent live. It seems as if these knights live for the feeling of giving mercy. This is shown again on page 145, when Arthur says, ?Did you see what Lancelot did for me today? He was in the position to kill me but refused to touch me. In faith, today he has surpassed in goodness and courtesy all the Knights I have ever seen;?(145) While in truth, they are engaged in a war where many men are being killed, it seems to be that this chivalry is focused more on the merciful and gallant side of war. The Lady of the Lake, in ?Lancelot of the Lake,? gives an explanation that describes the duality of the knight. ?A knight should have two hearts,? she says, ?one as hard and impenetrable as a diamond, and the other as soft and

pliable as hot wax.?(Corley, p. 2) It is this balance between the time to run one?s sword into the chest of the opponent and the time to spare a life that makes a true knight. The attainment of this balance is shrouded in much mythology, so that I am not sure it would survive in an increasingly modern world. This proves to be the truth, as the 15th century comes along and we experience the decline of the knight. As the era of knighthood comes to a close, we can see that in a country of peasants a minority of knights cannot continue to be what they were in the early middle ages. The role of the knight has become increasingly social and aristocratic. The chivalry of ?The Death of Arthur? remains to be the apex, and therefore what is remembered today in popular culture images. While

many of the traits of chivalry exist today, the times have changed and what once was the supreme goal of men is no more. Looking at modern satires of chivalry such as Monty Python, we can begin to understand how absurd some of the customs of knighthood were and what was gallant then is now just a funny joke. 34d