Comparing the Treatment of the Chivalry and Courtly Love in Old Times and Today, Based on the Film Monty Python and the Holy Grail

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

Courtly love and chivalry are two disciplines that portray an image or code of old times. Courtly love is based around women and “Forbidden Love”. Where men are polite and admire their love from a distance due to several circumstances. With courtly love, the pair usually face loyalty issues. Normally a man falls for someone who is already involved with another man, therefore resulting in trying to impress and win the woman’s heart. Courtly love results in women facing a love triangle and having to chose and be limited to only one man. Courtly love ties into chivalry. Chivalry is a masculine code, where men show honor, respect, and courtesy.

The morals and values behind chivalry are simple and in place so that men portray well behavior and conduct. Men sought to be great examples and leaders. Chivalry is said to be dead in present day, because it is a choice. It is the choice to do the right things, for the right purposes, not because of any influences. Courtly love and chivalry had major influences and many made it known using satire. Satire is a literary device in which writers use sarcasm, humor, and exaggeration to bring light on a serious situation.

The purpose of satire is to persuade an audience to believe or do something by showing an opposing view in very dramatic or ironic way. For instance, political cartoons are examples of satire. Artists used their talent to show issues in a different light. Courtly Love and Chivalry were set in place for the better of society and moral codes, although both very different, they both unite to influence society. In the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, King Arthur is introduced to the audience as the most “courteous of all”, therefore speaking volumes on his character. In the story, when the Green Knight challenges the court, the King shows chivalry by showing no interest in violence, but by wishing for peace.

However, in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, directors show satire. King Arthur shows absolutely no chivalry. Infact, when the king is confronted by Lancelot, they result in a battle. King Arthur actually cuts off Lancelot’s arm with his sword and then tells him, “It’s just a scratch”. Clearly, writers poked fun at the original story by using irony against the code of chivalry. In the movie The First Knight, writers portray a grand example of chivalry in the character Lancelot. In the very beginning of the film he challenges men to a friendly sword fight, and two males accepted. Lancelot won both sword fights by very far leaving surrounding villagers impressed, but both men embarrassed. However, instead of boasting or feeling superior, Lancelot asks the audience to applaud both men for rising to the challenge. It is evident that Lancelot is a prime example of chivalry by demonstrating moral rights and selflessness. In the film Monty Python, Lancelot’s sword skills totally disappear, and suddenly he is asking for mercy when King Arthur cuts him with his sword. The characters in the film portray the true definition of irony. In the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the audience goes back in time to the era of Courtly love. Sir Gawain goes through obstacles that challenge his loyalty and faith when he meets Lady Bertilak during his quest after the Green Knight.

The roles of courtly love are reversed because Sir Gawain is viewed as weak and suffers for not being truthful and obeying true love. When fibbing about how many goods he received, Bertilak reveals that she was playing and waiting on Sir Gawain to fail. In the film Monty Python, writers make fun of this tale, simply by demonstrating how the King and his night constantly face issues in the forest no matter where they go. In the movie the First Knight, Lancelot ends up falling in love with Guinevere. Guinevere is expected to take the throne since she is marrying King Arthur. However, after Lancelot saves her life she suddenly finds herself in a love triangle and conflicted. King Arthur takes Lancelot into his court and is quite impressed by his character. King Arthur is first oblivious to the sparks between Guinevere and Lancelot. In the parody Monty Python, King Arthur battles Lancelot.

The writers of the film use humor and irony to show the rage of King Arthur after finding out of his attraction to his future wife.Courtly Love and Chivalry were set in place for the better of society and moral codes, although both very different, they both unite to influence society. Chivalry and Courtly Love question traditions and social standards. The responsibilities expected by genders of society are very evident. Courtly Love is unbound to limitations between genders. Whereas chivalry mostly applies to men, and is an unofficial code that ensures the right things are being accomplished due to great moral and values. Chivalry is about going above and beyond, but not expecting something in return, but for the natural need in one’s heart to do what is right.

In present day, I believe courtly love is still present. Many fight for those that they cannot have. Also, love triangles are more common than ever. Chivalry is also dying. Nowadays the people in this unstable society are very selfish, and will do anything for themselves. Many do not have respect, and it is evident with the terrible events that are happening throughout the world. Chivalry should be kept alive, simply because we would see a large difference in the world. We would be witnessing good deeds rather than evil. At the end of the day we can never have too much good, in fact in order to survive we need to revive chivalry.


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