Chivalric Values in Literature Comparison Essay

Chivalric Values in Literature
A comparison of chivalric values in "Beowulf", "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote".
# 147341 | 1,717 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | US

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This paper discusses how, in exploring the theme of chivalry in the epic of "Beowulf", "Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Don Quixote", there are three different ways of looking at the code. Chivalry can also be described as gallantry, bravery and honor. A chivalrous man is heroic and well-bred. A knight or a "courtly" man is "courteous". The paper looks at how the code of chivalry is introduced in a straightforward way in "Beowulf". He defeats the monster and becomes the hero. In comparison, the paper examines how in Gawain, the story is a quest epic, but the hero fails the test, and we are led to question the chivalric code. "Gawain and the Green Knight" lends itself to satire, whereby the chivalric code is critically portrayed. Finally, the paper looks at how in "Don Quixote" the chivalric code is presented in the guise of a fool, who sees windmills as monsters, and learns the chivalric way from books.

From the Paper:

"Gawain and the Green Knight takes place in the court of King Arthur. King Arthur was known as the most courteous of kings. "More marvels have happened in this merry land than in any other I know, since that olden time, but of those that here built, of British kings, King Arthur was counted most courteous of all" (pg. 1993 23-26) . All of the knight's of King Arthur's court were considered gallant, brave, and chivalrous. But, Gawain's identity is to be determined by his ability to fulfill his quest. He will leave his old identity behind and build a new one. Therefore, Gawain is to be considered most honorable by proving himself, rather than of his noble blood or kinship. He has to show himself honorable in submitting his head to the blow of an axe, and he has to trade with his host what he has won while out hunting. The test is made harder when the host's wife is trying to seduce him. He tries to be courteous the whole time he tells her no, because that is the knightly way. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • The Norton Anthology of World Literature Volume B

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Chivalric Values in Literature (2011, March 23) Retrieved January 21, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Chivalric Values in Literature" 23 March 2011. Web. 21 January. 2022. <>