I was thinking about what I wanted to write my research paper on today and I started thinking about the concept of chivalry then and now. In much of what we’ve read, particularly the romances, chivalry is not only highlighted, but it governs the very actions of the main characters. While chivalry has different meanings dependant upon the arena in which it is being discussed (social standing, characteristics, public opinion, etc.) one common theme that runs throughout any conversation about chivalry is its absolute acceptance by the members of the upper classes of Medieval English society. Any man that expected to become a member of the knighthood or be associated with knightliness had to be “chivalrous” meaning they had to adopt all of the qualities that are shown (albeit oftentimes hyperbolically) in the romances we have read like Lybeaus Desconus and Sir Isumbras. They have to be devout, willing to employ violence when it is necessary, and in Lybeaus’ case, completely devoted to his King. In both cases these men are only successful because they follow the constraints of being chivalrous. I have only begun my research, but from what I’ve read so far, chivalry is much more than a hereditary social status, it is an ideal that everyone should strive to achieve, no matter your social rank. I’m still trying to piece together what it means to be chivalrous that the above is what I’ve gleaned so far. I keep wondering what our culture thinks both about the medieval concept of chivalry and what we would deem chivalrous now. Has the medieval concept of chivalry survived 600 years? Or has our culture transformed the idea of chivalry into something more modern and convenient? Do we have a notion of chivalry that coincides with the medieval one? I also keep thinking about chivalry as it pertains to masculinity. In ME to be a man, therefore masculine, was to be chivalrous. I’m not sure if that’s true today. Does a man have to conform to our modern day notion of chivalry in order to be considered masculine? I guess in order for me to answer that question I have to decide what I think our societal notion of chivalry is.
22A Glebe Street, Room 102
hours: T 11-12 R 3-4:30
- Research for penguin brief « hollysavagemedia2012and13 on What Makes a Knight?: Exploring the Characteristics of Knighthood in the texts of Ashmole 61
- architectos en Girona on Marshal McLuhan for Medieval Times
- arquirectura Barcelona on 29 March: Jessica Ellis (McGuire)
- Architecto En Barcelona on Understanding Chaucer In Terms of Ashmole 61
- ADT Corpus Christi on Women in the Middle Ages aka My Paper Topic!