Courtly Love in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

1109 Words 5 Pages
Courtly love—an expression of passion, a token of intimacy, and a vibrant theme which permeates the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Energetic and enterprising, young James Gatz ascends the social ladder to become a grossly successful and affluent businessman, all driven by a single purpose: to win the beautiful Daisy’s heart. Gatsby plays his role as Daisy’s courtly lover by his ambitions to satisfy his sincere, undying ardor and to prove his commitment to Daisy’s wellbeing.
The conventions of courtly love stem from the precise chivalric code of knights in the Middle Ages and passionate romances of European medieval folklore. Fantastic tales of dauntless knights and their fair damsels, often set in King Arthur’s kingdom of Camelot, captivated listeners in courts throughout Europe. A famous Arthurian legend narrates the story of Lancelot, King Arthur’s noblest knight, who betrays his lord after falling in love with the king’s wife, Guinevere, by participating in an affair with her. Such enthralling romances, with their popular theme of blossoming adoration between a knight and his lady, appealed particularly to the female court audience as a refreshing step away from the epic conquests of brave male warriors. In fact, it was these ladies of the court who extracted the sweet essence of courtly love from these flowery romances. Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England and France and ardent patron of the arts during the early twelfth century, envisioned…