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Medieval Romance. Excerpt from Le Morte d’Arthur And “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Chivalry and Courtly Love.

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Medieval romance


Excerpt from Le Morted’Arthur


“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Chivalry and courtly love
Chivalry and Courtly Love

Medieval literature, including the famous stories of King Arthur, was influenced by the ideals of chivalry and courtly love made popular during Henry II’s reign. Henry’s wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, brought from French court circles the concept of chivalry, a code of honor intended to govern knightly behavior. The code encouraged knights to be generous, brave, honest, pious, and honorable, to defend the weak and to battle evil and uphold good. It also encouraged knights to go on holy quests such as the Crusades, the military expeditions in which European Christians attempted to wrest the holy city of Jerusalem from Muslim control.

p. 30

Chivalry and courtly love1
Chivalry and Courtly Love

Eleanor and her daughter Marie applied chivalric ideals to the relationships between men and women as well. They presided over a “court of love,” where lords and ladies would come to be entertained by music and tales of King Arthur and other romantic heroes and argue about the proper conduct of a love affair. Courtly love and the concept of chivalry represented ideals rarely met in real life. Yet they served as inspiration for some of the finest literature of the time.

Medieval romance1
Medieval Romance

  • Code of Chivalry: Christian and military ideals (trawthe), including faith, modesty, loyalty, courtesy, bravery and honor.

  • Characteristics of romance: idealized or larger-than-life characters, a hero who faces a challenge or test, exotic settings and supernatural or magical settings, hidden or mistaken identity.

  • Style: Descriptive, imagery, symbol, alliteration

Rules from the 12 th century book the art of courtly love
“rules” from the 12th century book The Art of Courtly Love

  • Marriage is no real excuse for not loving.

  • He who is jealous cannot love.

  • When made public, love rarely endures.

  • A new love puts an old one to flight.

  • Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved.

Medieval romance2
Medieval Romance

Medieval romances, stories of adventure, gallant love, chivalry, and heroism, represent, for many readers the social order and ideas of the Middle Ages. Yet tales such as the good King Arthur and his sword Excalibur, Merlin the magician, Queen Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table were set in an idealized world quite unlike the real medieval England, with its plagues, political battles, and civil unrest. In fact, while it is true that chivalry and courtly love were ideals make popular during the medieval period, the real Arthur was not of this age.

p. 32

Arthur and gawain read the legendary hero and two favorites p 32 33
Arthur and Gawain:Read “The Legendary Hero” and “Two Favorites” p. 32-33

  • Romances are stories of adventure, love, heroism and chivalry.

  • They are set in an idealized world unlike Medieval England.

  • The real Arthur was a 6th century Celtic warrior.

Tales of arthur
Tales of Arthur


  • Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le MorteD’Arthur

  • Sir James Knowles The Legends of King Arthur

  • Terence Hanbury White’s The Once and Future King

  • Sir Alfred, Lord Tennyson “Idylls of the King”



The Sword in the Stone




Mists of Avalon

Sir thomas malory and le morte d arthur p 246
Sir Thomas Malory and Le Morted’Arthur (p. 246)

  • Interwoven tales that chronicle the rise and fall of King Arthur

  • Sir Thomas Malory-saw battle in 100 Years War, knighted in 1442, elected to Parliament, passionately involved in political conflicts preceding the War of the Roses (Lancaster)

  • Imprisoned by Yorkist government, Mallory wrote Le Morted’Arthur while serving a prison term (1451-1469).

  • Published after his death, Le MorteD’Arthur remains the most complete English version of the Arthurian legends.

Reading assignment
Reading Assignment

  • Read the excerpt in our text from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morted’Arthur p. 248-261

  • While reading, note the different conflicts taking place (internal and external) in your Writer’s Notebook. WNB#1: The Death of Arthur Conflicts

Participial phrases homework
Participial Phrases Homework

Edmodo: Post a sentence (share it with the class) containing a participle or gerund (entire sentence, underline the verbal and label it P or G) from each of the Medieval Romance excerpts in our book-- one from “Gawain” and one from Arthur (make sure to note page number). Rule of no repeats applies (two total).


Find five examples from “Gawain” and/or Arthur. Write them down on paper (entire sentence written, participle or gerund underlined and labeled).

Assigned: Monday, March 31

Due: Friday, April 4


While rescuing the imprisoned Gwnyvere, Launcelot slays two knights who, unknown to him at the time, are the brothers of Sir Gawain, a favorite nephew of Arthur’s. Participles P. 248

As the poem begins, Arthur and his knights are gathered to celebrate Christmas and the new year with feasting and revelry. Gerund P. 230

Sir gawain and the green knight
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”

  • Author know as the Gawain Poet

  • Written during the second half of the 14th century, the Gawain poet would have been a contemporary of Chaucer.

  • Trawthe, a Middle English word translated variously as “truth,” “devotion,” and “fidelity.” Trawthe meant not only keeping one’s word but also ramining faithful to the vows taken a the ceremony of knighthood, which included both secular and religious chivalric responsibilities.

Small group reading of gawain
Small Group Reading of Gawain

  • Note the following as you and your group read:

  • Idealized larger-than-life characters

  • A hero who faces a challenge or test

  • Exotic settings and supernatural or magic elements

  • Hidden or mistaken identity

  • Style: imagery, symbolism, alliteration

  • Day 2: Complete OERs as a group and be ready to share.

The power of punctuation
The Power of Punctuation

WNB #2:

How can punctuation change the meaning of the following vow the Green Knight makes to Gawain?

As for my wife

She’ll be your friend no more

A threat against your life.

Explain how changing the punctuation changes the meaning of this sentence.

Media literacy legends over time
Media Literacy: Legends over Time

  • Watch both clips: King Arthur (2004) and Camelot (1960)

  • Compare Performances (WS)

  • Be ready for Medieval Literature Quiz On Monday-may use Writer’s Notebook only.