The Chivalrous Ideal and Courtly Love in the English Medieval Period

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 357
  • Published : January 9, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
The chivalrous ideal and courtly love in the English medieval period (Sir gawain and The Wife of Bath)

Contents

INTRODUCTION pg. 2

UNIT 1 - Background research on courtly love and chivalry pg. 3

UNIT 2 - The chivalrous ideal and courtly love in ’’Sir gawain and the Green Knight’’ and ’’The Wife of Bath ’’ pg. 8 CONCLUSION pg. 14

INTRODUCTION

The romance of Courtly Love practiced during the Middle Ages was combined with the Code of Chivalry. There were strict rules of courtly love and the members of the courts practiced the art of courtly love across Europe during the Middle Ages. The romance, rules and art of courtly love allowed knights and ladies to show their admiration regardless of their marital state. It was a common occurrence for a married lady to give a token to a knight of her choice to be worn during a medieval tournament. There were rules, which governed courtly love, but sometimes the parties, who started their relationship with such elements of courtly love, would become deeply involved. Examples of relationships, which were stirred by romantic courtly love, chivalry and romance, are described in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. Many illicit court romances were fuelled by the practice and art of courtly love. The most fertile field of the romance genre was the Arthurian romance. Closely related to the romance tradition were two idealized standards of behavior: chivalry and courtly love. Many modern people think of chivalry as referring to a man's gallant treatment of women, and although that sense is derived from the medieval chivalric ideal, chivalry includes more than that. Many modern people think of chivalry as referring to a man's gallant treatment of women, and although that sense is derived from the medieval chivalric ideal, chivalry includes more than that. Broadly speaking, chivalry, derived from the old French term for a soldier mounted on horseback, was a knight's code of conduct. There was no single set of chivalric rules, but the existence of popular medieval chivalric handbooks testifies that chivalry was a well-known concept. Knights formed a distinct segment of medieval society, which was often thought of as being composed of three classes: those who pray (the clergy), those who fight (the nobility), and those who work (the peasants). Most knights belonged to the nobility, if only because a knight's equipment horses, weapons, armor, required considerable resources to fund. Violence, often bloody and horrific violence, was at the heart of what knights did. As highly skilled and well-armed fighting men, knights could be a force either for creating social chaos or for maintaining public order.

Unit 1- Background research on courtly love and chivalry

1.1 Courtly love developed in the twelfth century among the troubadours of southern France, but soon spread into the neighboring countries and eventually colored the literature of most of Western Europe for centuries. It originated in the writings of the poet Ovid Ars Amatoria (‘The Art of Love’). André the Chaplain (or Andreas Cappellanus), took as his model, Ovid’s ‘Ars Amatoria ‘ (the Art of Loving). Ovid’s work concerns how to seduce a woman, and among its rules are appropriate forms of dress, approach, conversation, and toying with a lady’s affections, all designed to amuse. In the Ars Amatoria, the man is in control, and the woman is simply his prey. But André turned the Ars Amatoria upside-down. In his “Liber de...
tracking img