Chivalry Throughout The Ages

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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Chivalry Throughout the Ages Chivalry is the thought of one possessing certain qualities such as bravery, courtesy, and honor. Throughout the 12th and 13th Century the idea of chivalry was at its height. Then in the 14th and 15th centuries it was associated with public ceremony rather than service in the field. In modern day society the ideals of chivalry still hold the same meaning as it has in the past, but it is no longer as evident. It is used as a way of describing a person's personality rather than describing a class of society as it was used in medieval times.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, chivalry was used to describe the gallantry and honor expected of knights. According to the some authors of that time period chivalry was considered "a new kind of monster, compounded of purity and corruption." (Henry of Huntingdon, "Historia Anglorum" Henry of Blois.)

Chivalry was meant as a code of honor that knights took into oath. However some of the knights of that time were depicted in literature as being cunning and would take advantage of their position, therefore giving the idea of chivalry a bad name and eventually leading to it's demise in the 12th and 13th centuries.

As the years passed according to literary works chivalry was still thought of as a thing of the past, but in today's society, it has taken on a new meaning. Rather than being a Knightly class, it is a way of depicting a person as being brave and honorable. It no longer just applies to Knights, but can be applied to every day people. The ideology surrounding chivalry has now taken on a positive role.

Literature has been the basis of the ideals of chivalry. Through literature, the author can express his/her own beliefs and the beliefs of the society in which they live. Therefore literature can be an accurate timeline of the ideology surrounding chivalry. By looking back at the literature of the chivalric times, I saw how the concept has been manipulated and transformed.



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