Chivalry was a system of ethical ideals developed among the knights of medieval Europe. Arising out of the feudalism of the period, it combined military virtues with those of Christianity, as epitomized by he Arthurian legend in England and the chansons de geste of medieval France. The word chivalry is derived from the French chevalier, meaning horseman or knight. Chivalry was the code of conduct by which knights were supposedly guided. In addition to military prowess and valor and loyalty to God and the knight\'s feudal lord, it called for courtesy toward enemies and generosity toward the sick and oppressed, widows, and other disadvantaged people.

Also incorporated in the ideal was courtly love, romantic devotion for a sexually
unattainable woman, usually another man\'s wife. Veneration for the Virgin Mary played a part in this concept. Chivalric ideals influenced the founding of religious military orders during the period of the Crusades, among them the Templars and the Hospitalers, the Teutonic Knights, and the Spanish orders of Alcantara, Calatrava, and Santiago. In the late Middle Ages, rulers formed secular orders of chivalry such as the English Order of the Garter and the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece. By this time, however, chivalry had become largely a system of etiquette. Tournaments, in which knights had originally risked their lives in jousting combat before the ladies, became simply elaborate, stylized, and harmless entertainments. Moreover, the expense of this and other trappings of knighthood led many nobles who were eligible for knighthood, having served the customary apprenticeship of 7 years as a page at a noble court and another 7 as a squire, or attendant, to a knight, not to become knights at all. From chivalry, always larger in literature than in life, comes the modern concept of the
gentleman.


The Knight tells a tale of ideal love and chivalry. This type of tale might seem somewhat strange to todays readers, but this tale would be very popular in the time of Chaucer. The story of the Knight fits his character perfectly. We would expect this from the Knight because he is a very loyal and honorable person. The Knight\'s tale is filled with love, honor, chivalry, and lots of adventure. Furthermore, fitting the Knights character, there are no stories bordering on the vulgar and no coarseness. The love is an ideal love in which there is no hint of sensuality. The love exists on a high, ideal, platonic plane. The emphasis in the Knight\'s tale is upon the rules of honor and proper conduct. These qualities fit the Knight good because he would bring his opponent armor before they began to fight. The sense of honor is central to the story and the purity of the love each knight feels for Emelye tends to ennoble the character.

The Knight is the perfect and genteel man who loved truth, freedom, chivalry and honor. He was truly a distinguished man, He has ridden into battle in both Christian and heathen lands and in every instance served his king well. Despite his brave add dangerous deeds, the Knight never boasted of what he did nor did he tell his followers and listeners of his defeats.

The Knight is the most socially prominent person on the journey and certain debts are paid to him throughout the journey. He tells the first story and many pilgrims offer him many good compliments. All the battles that the Knight fought in, none of them were in the King\'s secular wars. They were all religious wars of some nature.


It is also typical of the Knight that he would love to describe the richness of the
banquet and the elaborate decorations of the stadium and the rituals connected with the
funeral. This type of richness and greatness would appeal to a man of such distinction as the Knight. Furthermore, the extreme emphasis on form, ritual, and code of behavior are all element of knighthood. He is a distinguished soldier, gentlemen and an idealist.
Todays readers might find it strange that so many elements of chivalry come into the story.
The Knight in the Canterbury Tales is compared to the modern day police office. We would not think that the Knight would be such a perfect and gentle