’ Arthur Essay, Research Paper
The Chivalric Code of Le Morte d’Arthur
Throughout the tales of King Arthur, stories of brave knights and noble lords
captivated the society of the European Middle Ages. These stories gave a criterion for
people to base there values and way of life on. During the 1400’s knighthood was coming
to an end. Sir Thomas Malory wanted to recapture the lose of chivalry with his tale “Le
Morte d’Arthur”. He wished to inspire people to return to the basic ideals of the chivalric
code. Le Morte d’Arthur presents the importance of possessing the characteristics of
honor, loyalty, and courage.
The most important aspect of the chivalric code is honor. Without honor a man is
believed to be less of a person during the Middle Ages. If you were to loose your honor,
then somehow you, or someone else, must go to any lengths to regain that honor. In Le
Morte d’Arthur, a knight is injured mortally and dies. When the squire of the knight
presents himself before King Arthur he tells Arthur, “he had been attacked by King
Pellinore at the well, and then begged that he should be buried, and that one of Arthur’s
knights should avenge his death.”(Malory, p.99) The squire knows that the deceased
knight’s honor must be returned. A young squire named Gryfflette begs Arthur to make
him a knight so he can avenge the fallen knights honor. Gryfflette’s plea to be a knight
goes to show how important it is that a man’s honor be intact no matter what the cost may
In being a chivalric, along with possessing honor, you must also have large of
amounts of courage and bravery. Arthur knows Gryfflette is not ready to become a
knight, yet he still allows him to become one because he knows how important it is to
return honor to his dead comrade. Gryfflette leaves in search of King Pellinore and
displays great courage by going and facing a much more seasoned knight such as he. “Sir
Gryfflette struck the shield a ringing blow, and it fell to the ground.”(p. 99) Gryfflette
insults King Pellinore by pulling such a brave act as to knock the King’s shield from a tree.
Gryfflette is aware of how experienced King Pellinore is, yet he is still very confident in his
words. Sir Gryfflette is very sure of himself and repeats why he is there by confidently
saying, “I come from the court of King Arthur, and still I mean to joust with you.”(p.99)
Having a great deal of courage in Le Morte d’Arthur means that you are a strong knight
and are worthy of respect and admiration. The more courage that you possess, the more
people you have who admire you and who will be loyal to you and your cause.
Loyalty is a ever-present aspect of chivalry presented in Le Morte d’Arthur.
Loyalty is dispersed throughout the hierarchal feudal system. Along with loyalty there is a
shared sense of respect for one another. When Arthur leaves to avenge the loss of honor
that Sir Gryfflette endures at the hand of King Pellinore, Merlin says, “whereas your anger
will certainly not save you from the superior strength of king Pellinore, whom you are
about to challenge.”(p. 100) Merlin realizes that Arthur has no chance of winning against
King Pellinore, yet he still stays with Arthur because he knows that he must be loyal to
Arthur even though Arthur might shame himself and Merlin if he looses the battle. Arthur
and Merlin return from Arthur’s journey and “they were questioned eagerly on all that had
happened; and when the story was told, Arthur’s knights rejoiced in the boldness of their
king.”(p. 102) King Arthur’s knights are extremely loyal to him by praising him no matter
what happens on his journey whether he losses or wins. Loyalty is a very admirable
quality and is given much regard in Le Morte d’Arthur
The importance of possessing the chivalric characteristics of honor, loyalty, and
courage are presented in Le Morte d’Arthur. Sir Thomas Malory stresses the importance
of chivalric qualities not only as an attempt to regain chilvary in the 1400’s, but also to
stress of having those types of qualities that stay the same from generation to generation.
In today’s age being loyal to someone is just as important as it was in the Middle Ages.
Honor today can be looked at as being proud of something that you have accomplished or
that you have, and courage is always a characteristic that people appreciate and desire no
matter what the time period may be. In writing Le Morte d’Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory
not only wrote a reminder of chivalry for the 1400’s, but he wrote a anthem for the
importance of being chivalrous for generations to come.