The Middle Ages were full of kings and queens, princes and princesses. The ones who protected them were the knights. They were to ride with “chivalry, trust, honor, generosity, and courtesy.” (Chaucer, “General Prologue” 142). Most of the knights from The Middle Ages always upheld their moral code; however, some did not. Which leads to the question of, “Were all knights in The Middle Ages moral?” Three knights from Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales and “Sir Gawain the Green Knight” possess both immoral and moral characteristics.
The knight from “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” was the most immoral out the three knights. The knight broke his moral code when, “By very force he took her maidenhead.” (Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” 182). This validates that he did not ride with chivalry, generosity, or courtesy. Knights are supposed to protect women and respect them; he decided to take advantage of a vulnerable young maiden. This deed that is considered punishable by death displays that he lacks morals and believes he can commit any act (immoral or moral) that he desires. The knight’s immorality is also illustrated when he protests and complains, trying to maneuver his way out of his word of honor with an old woman. “Old lady, by the Lord I know that such my [promise], but for God’s love think of a new request …” (Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” 187). This action personifies how selfish the knight is, he only made the promise to save his own life, never intending to keep his word. Unlike this knight, Sir Gawain a knight from, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” exhibits a handful of moral characteristics as well as immoral.
Sir Gawain possesses both immoral and moral qualities. He firsts presents his immoral n...
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...ain a moral code all day every day, till they pass away. Be that as it may, you still carry that moral code with you. Immoral tendencies lie in all of us, but it is our choice whether to either give in or reframe from it altogether. All three knights share one common thing: they are all human. Regardless of who you are — a knight, president, king, teacher, a friar or even a student — morals are within you.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Knights Tale.” The Canterbury Tales. Ed. R.M. Lumiansky. NY: Pocket Books, 2001.19-63. Print.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.” The Canterbury Tales. McDougal Littell Literature: British Literature. Ed. Janett Allen. Dallas: McDougal Littell, 2008. 182-192. Print.
“Sir Gawain and The Green Knight.” McDougal Littell Literature: British Literature. Ed. Janett Allen. Dallas: McDougal Littell, 2008. 226-239. Print.
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