“A man’s body is given to him to be trained and then used for the protection of the weak, the advancement of all righteous causes and the subduing of the Earth . . . This was a part of a wider revival of the ideal of chivalry.” (Richards) During the middle ages, a knight was expected to possess not only the skills and incredible strength to face combat, but was also expected to temper his aggressive side with a code of chivalry. There is no such thing as the authentic code of chivalry, it is more like a moral system which went way beyond the rules of combat to introduce the concept of appropriate conduct. The qualities most often idealized were bravery, courtesy, honor and gallantry, especially toward women. Before this, the incredibly aggressive nature of warriors and knights was often times what ruled the culture, because the men with the most power were the ones that often times made the rules. However, a code of Chivalry was first documented within the Middle Ages in the classic text Song of Roland and from that point forward greatly changed the culture. From the introduction of the Code in the classic middle-ages text back to the presentation in Greek and Roman thought, the ideas of a standard of behavior has evolved along with society into what is known today as the Code of Chivalry, altering almost every aspect of many societies.
One of the first representations of the Nature of Chivalry occurs within the world of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with the ways in which the values and actions of the characters are shaped. The world of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is governed by a very strict code of behavior. The code of chivalry in particular shapes almost all of the decisions made on behalf of Sir Gawain and other maj...
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...m the point in history in which the warriors began to separate from the common people, a division of behavior was prevalent. Then, over time, these individuals began to become held to very different standards of behavior. Though it wasn’t until the tales of King Arthur that the Chivalric Code was officially referred to, this separation of expectations existed even hundreds of years before, within texts like Beowulf and The Aeneid. Though there was never any sort of official code of conduct, warriors knew that they had to be setting the example for others simply because they were in positions of such high power. In these societies, it was most often the case that the strongest man was the one that ended up the most powerful, so if these men began behaving according to a code with rather decent ethics, than an outcome could be expected that was rather pleasant as well.
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