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Chivalry Throughout The Ages

     Barbaric, Medieval, Modern; three different times in history, each with their own codes, standards, and expectations. All three of these eras have their differences and likenesses. Chivalry’s one of these likenesses, though it varies greatly from time to time. This great code, I believe, can be summed up in six words: selfless service and respect for women.
      In the days of Beowulf, Hrothgar, and Wealhtheow, chivalry existed, but it was merely by the kindness of ones own heart that it was carried out. This high standard of living, as it would come to be, was not so lofty in the “barbaric days”. Women were expected to serve men without question. “Please” and “thank you” were not part of the everyday vocabulary of men and women. However, ladies of rank were given respect; often because they had the ear of their husbands. Sometimes the noblemen would heed the words of their, naturally wise, wives. Other times, the man would choose to ignore the woman, or even punish her.
      Arthur and his knights were held to a much higher standard then Beowulf and his thanes. The church started to encourage “common courtesies” and soon chivalry became part of the vows of becoming a knight. Men were dedicating tournament wins and great acts of knight service to the ladies of their choosing. Much like in the “barbaric days”, it was mostly nobles who gave and received acts of chivalry. However, a knight was to be kind and courteous to all women. Living by the code of chivalry was a difficult path to follow, and honestly, few achieved it with flying colors.
      Today many people will claim that chivalry is nonexistent. This statement is simply not true. Though we do not have heroic knights rescuing damsels in distress; we do have men willing to let a lady ahead of them in a long line. Such “little” services that we, as women, take for granted are acts of chivalry. A man holding the door, taking your coat, praising you for a job well done, these are all Selfless services.  
      In the end, it is clear to see that though chivalry has existed throughout all of these years, it has varied greatly. Women of the “barbaric days” were barely respected by men. Ladies of the medieval days had men wrapped around their fingers, for the most part. Women these days are given “small” acts of selfless service and, I believe, take many of them for granted. Chivalry has always been a wonderful way to show love to others, and by God’s good grace, it will never cease to be given and received.
The End
~*~Scarlet O'Rourke~*~

This is a paper I had to write for my LA class. I got an A+!            

Posted: February 22, 2005 

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