Medieval Literature and King Arthur

650 Words3 Pages
As humans we fancy creating heroic figures. Whether fact or fiction, there always made larger than life. All was the same in medieval times. Although, instead of using movies or social media they used literature.Throughout history, literature has always been crucial. Through it we are able to learn about culture and build an assortment of knowledge. During the 12th century if you were to ask any country man in Britain to bring to life a popular heroic figure, they would clamor King Arthur. But guess what, the knowledge these men had of King Arthur all came through literature. As a chivalrous king, he was righteous. All of his men of the round table were exceptional, following the code. Or were they? What seems to be ideal once told doesn’t always turn out to be reality.

If you were to live during the Feudal System era there would be divisions in classes. One of the more honorary titles would be of knighthood. During the late middle ages the rank of a knight had become associated with the code of chivalry. The code insightfully explained how Knights were not to be crazed, but instead were to be gentlemen with devout Christian beliefs. Because of their belief in Christianity all of the biblical principles came upon them. In one of the better known Arthurian stories, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the code of Chivalry becomes exposed. “ For that is my belt about you, that same braided girdle…” (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, 458) Sir Gawain had made a promise to the Lord of the house that they would exchange what each had received each day. In being selfish and deceitful he decided to break the code of chivalry. Instead of keeping the promise, he kept the girdle that he had received from the Lord’s wife. Another example of Chiv...

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...h he should of just stayed loyal. Sir Bedivere in Morte d’ Arthur has trouble staying loyal to his beloved dying king. “My lord,” said Sir Bedivere, “ your commandment shall be done, and I shall lightly bring you word again.” (Morte d'Arthur, 21) The Knight abruptly informs the King that his wish will be fulfilled. As time passes his actions show his true colors, “Ah, traitor unto me and untrue,” said King Arthur, “now hast thou betrayed me twice.” (Morte d’Arthur, 25)

In Medieval Literature, character traits love to be celebrated and judged. The knights Gawain and Sir Bedivere both truly buckled under pressure. Ideally, they were these virtuous who could not do wrong, when in reality they were just helpless human beings. In conclusion, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Morte d’Arthur both reveal that what seems to be ideal isn’t really what reality manifests.
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