The Contradiction of Chivalry and Courtly Love Essays

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The Contradiction of Chivalry and Courtly Love

Two conflicting disciplines are prevalent throughout Arthurian Legend; that of chivalry and that of courtly love. The ideal of each clash throughout the medieval tales, and it is impossible to interfuse the two models for society. Chivalry is a masculine code, an aggressive discipline, whereas courtly love is based upon women - their needs, wants, and desires. The consistent problem if Lancelot and Guinevere’s adulterous relationship in different tellings of the affair relates back to the differences presented in chivalric code and courtly love ideals.

The chivalric code speaks of "brave conquerors" waging war against the Seven deadly Sins(Schofield 5). The knight places all thought
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On the other hand, though, there is the court conception that adulterous love is virtuous, despite the fact that engaging in such love, secrets become deceitful and deception a way of life. The deception of Lancelot to King Arthur by his affair with Guinevere is not viewed by Arthur to be adulterous. He does not get mad at Lancelot for the affair, rather the fact that he as a knight has broken the chivalric code; the code among knights that specifies actions to be honest, noble, and virtuous. Because Lancelot is a knight, his discipline is that of the knights – the chivalric code. Because of this, he commits an act of treason with his relationship with Guinevere.

Guinevere, being a lady of the court, abides to the dictates of courtly love. Courtly love is a code created by the court poets in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, under the promotion of Marie de Champagne. There is more of a social code than a written law that is adhered to. It is, rather, a fanciful trend that hits the courts of the nobility. Courtly love actually condones fornication, adultery, sacrilege, but represents them as a necessary element to what it considers to be virtuous(Denomy 22). This adultery is accepted, as it is believed that true love cannot be found through the politically arranged marriages that occur. One marries a husband for bettering land holdings, power, and wealth, and
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