What Makes a Chivalrous Knight

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Shelby Allison Professor Clements British Literature I March 25, 2013 What Makes a Chivalrous Knight? When comparing two different knights, one would hope to find an equal level of chivalry. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case when comparing Sir Gawain, from an unknown author’s “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, and the Un-named Knight, from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath”. These knights seem to live by opposite codes of Chivalry. Sir Gawain is a member of King Arthur’s court. He is actually Arthur’s nephew. He has a very noble character, and is a very brave honest man. It is insinuated that the un-named knight from “The Wife of Bath” (whom we will now refer to as the Bath knight) was also a knight from King Arthur’s court, although it is never verified. The Bath knight did not have a very noble character; his actions did not prove to be very knightly. Sir Gawain’s quest is based off a challenge that he accepted to defend King Arthur. He realizes that King Arthur’s life is much more significant than his own. “I am the weakest, well I know, and of wit feeblest, / and the loss of my life would be least of any” (354-355). He accepts the challenge from a traveling knight, to exchange blows. He cut off the traveling knights’ head, but the knight is under an enchantment, and suffers no lasting injuries. The traveling knight gives Sir Gawain a year and a day to find his home so they can finish their challenge. “And yet a respite I’ll allow, till a year and a day go by.”
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