Loyalty: Pledge and Medieval Times

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, Pledge, Geoffrey Chaucer Pages: 2 (503 words) Published: January 29, 2006

As time progresses certain values such as chivalry, bravery and honor appears to have lost cultural importance. Today men are so concentrated on the self, that these values scarcely exist. In medieval times such virtues as loyalty held a much higher place on a man's list of priorities.

In medieval times, if a person was serious about helping or serving a leader they pledged allegiance to him. This pledge was essentially an oath or promise to that person to stay loyal till death. In the beginning of Everyman by Anonymous after Everyman discovered that he must make a pilgrimage he encountered another character, Fellowship. Fellowship made a pledge, promising to stay loyal when he said, "My true friend show to me your mind; I will not forsake thee to my life's end"(212-213). Fellowship made this promise intending to keep it even if it required sacrificing his life.

Promises and pledges held a much greater significance in medieval times than they do by today's standards. A promise in the 21st Century usually had some catch or loop-hole that released the pledger from the bounds of that promise. The promise usually meant "I will do this for you unless it requires too much effort on my part and in that case forget it." In medieval times a promise was sacred and when someone made a promise they remained loyal to fulfilling it. A great example of this loyalty was shown by the Friar in the "Summoner's Tale" of The Canterbury Tales by George Chaucer. The example began when the Summoner had just finished his tale and offered a gift to the Friar. The Friar being a somewhat greedy fellow was captivated by the thought of a gift for him. However, the Summoner had one condition. He required that the Friar promise to share the gift with all of the other friars accompanying him on this pilgrimage they had undertaken. The Friar quickly agreed and reached under the Summoner where the gift was said to be. Just then the Summoner farted on his hand. Although anyone today...
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