MEDVL_101_Assngt_4 - Arthur Through The Ages Assignment...

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Arthur Through The Ages Assignment 4 (Revision) The two poems, “ Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ” and “The Knight of the Cart” by Chretien, are both examples of medieval literature that can be classified as romances. Medieval romance usually idealizes chivalry and the hero-knight and his noble deeds. An important element of the medieval romance is the knight's love for his lady, sometimes referred to as courtly love. The settings of medieval romance tend to be imaginary and vague. Also, medieval romance derives mystery and suspense from supernatural elements and uses concealed or disguised identity. (1) These themes are central to both “ Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ” and “The Knight of the Cart” . In both poems, the main characters are built up to be beacons of morality and the paragon against which all others should be measured, but we later discover that not even these heroes are perfect. The theme of chivalry is one of the most essential parts of a medieval romance and it is clearly present in the poems by Gawain poet and Chretien. Chivalry is a term associated with knightly virtues, honor, and courtly love. When Gawain stated, “Think of your bold knights, bursting to fight, as ready and willing as men can be: defer to their needs. And I am the slightest, the dullest of them all; my life the least, my death no loss - My only worth is you, my royal Uncle, all my virtue is through you. And this foolish business fits my station, not yours: let me play this green man's game. If I ask too boldly, may this court declare me at fault?”, he was performing a chivalrous deed by offering to take Arthur’s place in completing the Green Knight’s task. Gawain also followed chivalric ideals during his long stay at the Lord’s castle. When the lord’s wife came into Gawain’s bedroom and asked to be kissed by the knight “known the world over for his perfect chivalry”, Gawain’s chivalrous ideals persisted as evidenced by his
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response to the lady, “Lord! How lucky I am, Lady, not to be the knight you speak of: to take that kind of honor on my own would be sinful; I know myself too well. By God, I'd be glad, if it pleased you, to offer you some different service, in word or deed to serve such excellence would be endless delight.” Gawain refused the lord’s wife when she so openly gave herself up to him. This is not only an example of chivalry, but of Gawain’s courtesy. Lancelot also honored the code of chivalry. For instance, when he disarmed the guardian knight and was about to kill him, the guardian knight’s girl “promised to grant the 'Knight of the Cart' a future wish provided he allows her knight live”. Lancelot did not have to let the knight live, but his honor prevailed and he granted the girl’s wish. Lancelot also obliged to chivalric ideals when he helped free the people of Gorre from tyrannical rule. Lancelot was not in any way forced to help the town, but he did it because the ideals of chivalry and knighthood said that it was the right thing to do.
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