Chivalry, From Medieval Ages to Today

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“[Guenever] lived in warlike times, when the lives of young people were as short as those of airmen in the twentieth century. In such times, the elderly moralists are content to relax their moral laws a little, in return for being defended. The condemned pilots, with their lust for the life and love which is probably to be lost so soon, touch the hearts of young women, or possibly call up an answering bravado. Generosity, courage, honesty, pity, the faculty to look short life in the face—certainly comradeship and tenderness—these qualities may explain why Guenever took Lancelot as well as Arthur. It was courage more than anything else—the courage to take and give from the heart, while there was time.”
-- T.H. White
When it was discovered that Guenever and Lancelot were having an affair, White used this quote as an attempt to justify their behavior by explaining the difference in morals during war as opposed to any other time. This concept continues to apply to this day, with a relaxation of judgment and punishment during times of turmoil. This idea was especially prevalent during the World Wars of the 20th Century, featuring a delicate balance between chivalry and violence. Despite the stories of King Arthur and chivalry resulting mostly from legends, they have their roots in true historical events. Throughout all of history, authors have added their own take to the traditional fantasy story based on their personal life events. Take T.H. White for example: the influence that war during his childhood had on White’s life was demonstrated repeatedly throughout the novel and even exemplified through Arthur’s own childhood. Many of the themes and motifs in White’s writing refer back to the events of the time, especially those of the ...

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