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The Contradiction of Chivalry and Courtly Love

Chivalry and courtly love are two concepts that had a strong influence on the literature of Western Europe during the later middle ages. The aim of both concepts is to describe the rules for behavior for the aristocrats in a feudal society.

The code of chivalry was sort of an instruction for a knight how to behave in battle and in relationships with his servants and overlord. As for the code of courtly love, it dictated how the knight should behave in relationships with his amorous ladies. Portrayals of courtly love and chivalry in the literature, suggest that these modes of behavior were very difficult to practice, and even in the fictionalized versions, characters that adhere to the standards of courtly love and chivalry find certain contradictions in them.

Chivalry required nobles and knights to swear loyalty to their superiors as well as show mercy and compassion to those who were weak and socially inferior. The ideal knight was loyal, brave, and compassionate. He had to help to those in distress, so to be an exemplar of Christian virtue. After the crusades into the Holy Land began, many knights decided to take vows of chastity and poverty in order to give their exploits a more spiritual dimension.

In the medieval romance, the onset of the code of chivalry is found in the late 10th century in The Song of Roland. The narrative of this epic poem tells the story of a battle in 778. According to the story, a group of Basques attacked the rearguard of Charlemagne’s army as he was leaving Spain. The Roland poet turns the attacking party into Saracens, making a defense of Christianity a central issue of the poem.

He also describes Charlemagne’s army as feudal nobles governed by bonds of loyalty. Roland along with his warriors does not agree to abandon one another even despite being so close to death. Also, Roland does not want to call for reinforcements, because that may be a sign that he is not heroic enough. His tragic death establishes the behavior of the hero in war.

In love, imagined as a polite warfare, hearts were at stake instead of lives. The same concepts of chivalry and courtly love develop in the romantic literature.

The idea of courtly love developed around the 11th century. Many scholars, including Denis de Rougemont, believe that the troubadours find their inspiration from the Hebrew and Arabic lyric poems.

The concepts of chivalry and courtly love are also found into the literature of the later middle ages and the Renaissance.

Chivalry and courtly love are two concepts that had a strong influence on the literature of Western Europe during the later middle ages. The aim of both concepts is to describe the rules for behavior for the aristocrats in a feudal society.

The code of chivalry was sort of an instruction for a knight how to behave in battle and in relationships with his servants and overlord.

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Assignment ID
100001868
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CREATED ON
September 25, 2016
COMPLETED ON
September 26, 2016
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$34
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Essay Example Comments
carlokaram9816
November 8, 2016
carlokaram9816
Perfect
carlokaram9816
November 8, 2016
carlokaram9816
Great job
germanvd54
October 11, 2016
germanvd54
Good job and on time.