Tristan is the ideal chivalric knight. As part of being a knight, there are requirements of chivalric code that must be followed.
He taught him the use of the lance and sword and ‘scutcheon and bow, and how to cast stone quoits and to leap wide dykes also: and he taught him to hate every lie and felony and to keep his given word; and he taught him various of song and harp-playing, and the hunters craft.
Knights who are not following the rules of the chivalric code are immoral and shamed for example in a duel Tristan says “Coward! Here is death ready for the man that strikes the horse before the rider.” The quests he goes on at the beginning of the book to slay the Tristan vows to avenge his father because this follows the chivalric code for the honor. He is vowed to be loyal to his father and serve his honor. When Tristan defeats the Morholt he serves his king and honor. Tristan faces death many times just for honor. Tristan works very hard to save Iseult with the gold hair so that she may marry king mark. When the other guy tries to say that he killed the dragon because Tristan hasn’t returned, Tristan defeats death and returns home to prove him wrong and claim Iseult for his own clientage. Being born...
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...times takes her as a higher priority than his King. He proves his loyalty to her when he puts her own welfare above his own. On the times of trial, his priority is not his own life, it is that of his lady. Tristan is so loyal to his lady, Queen Iseult that he refuses intimacy with his wife, Iseult with white hands, using the excuse that “Friend, do not be angry with me; for once in another land I fought a foul dragon and was near to death, and I thought of the Mother of God, and I made a vow to her that, should I ever wed, I would spend the first holy nights of my wedding in prayer and in silence.” Iseult is forced to marry King Mark very young before she fully comprehends what she desires and knows who she loves.
Tristan has chivalric love for his fellow knights as well. This is platonic. He proves his love for them by trying to win back their approval of him.
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