Chivalry: Dead or alive?

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA- Once upon a time, there was a damsel in distress who was trapped in a tower of an evil emperor's castle. She longed for a brave and noble knight to come and save her. When the brave night finally comes and saves her, he slays the dragon; they escape and live happily ever after. Now let's step back to reality, stories like this do not exist in today's society. The code of chivalry is no longer practiced by men. Things are much different from what they were in medieval times, back when it was the duty of men to treat a woman with common courtesy and respect. The question is has chivalry really died or does a part of it still exists but men are just afraid of showing it. One might think that society has changed the course of chivalry making it out dated, old fashioned or "played out."

One reason why society might reject the idea that chivalry still exists is because it’s no longer needed. Men feel that they don't have to do things like respect, honor or even open doors for women anymore. “Guys don’t do things like hold doors for girls or give roses or anything romantic anymore” said Nola Vassor a college students at St. Thomas University. They feel that chivalry was just something practiced in the past and that there is no reason to since women’s equality has negated the need for chivalry. Some men still practice chivalry but the majority of them do not. However there are women out there that really don't care if men honor them or open doors for them, many women feel that they don't need men do to anything for them. Women feel that they can accomplish things on their own, with no help needed from a man.

Chivalry represented a fusion of Christian and military concepts of morality and still form the basis of gentlemanly conduct. Chivalry began in France and Spain and quickly spread to England. Knights were taught to be skillful in arms, to show courage, to be gallant, and to show loyalty in order to protect those who are too weak to defend themselves against injustice. The duties of women contained courtly love, which is a code of behavior that required knights to show gentleness, admiration, and graciousness to all women. Knights should devote themselves completely to a married women or betrothed woman at court. They would also win tournaments and jousts in his lady’s name just to win her approval. To please their ladies they would win wars, write poetry and love songs and play instruments.

All of this may make one think women were really treated well, once upon a time, and the men did just about anything just to please them. So now the question is, where all this went, when did it stop and what stopped it. Although it is not know when chivalry really ended or if it even ended, it is suspected that the changes in human behavior may have caused chivalry’s demises. The changes in women’s behavior maybe the real leading cause because women started to view their purpose in the world. Even though women were treated with respect by their men, they had no voice. Women were to be seen and not heard. By early 20th century, women all over the world were fighting for their rights, and fighting to be heard. Women no longer wanted men to speak for them, they wanted to be their own person, and they wanted to be, well, they wanted to be independent. Independence of women is what cause chivalry to end. Women wanted to speak for themselves, take care of themselves and they wanted to be treated equally to men. Basically, women were tired of men treating them like they were trophies. They wanted the privilege of doing whatever men did; they wanted to prove that they were not as weak as men made them look. Women no longer needed a Don Quixote figure to save them, they could save themselves.

Women might say that chivalry is a thing of the past because of their gain of independence however men might say something totally different. If a man were asked why chivalry doesn't exists in today's society, he would say that to open a door, or pull out a chair, or even to treat a women with kindness people would consider him a "sissy". "If men have an inborn sense of chivalry, why don't they offer it? The answer is very simple: Men don't offer their chivalry because women have become capable" says writer Mark of Whitstable. There are men out there to that still do chivalrous actions towards women, and they don't worry about how it makes them look. According to Jerome K. Jerome, author of Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, "Chivalry is not dead: it only sleeps for want of work to do. It is you [women] who must wake it to the noble deeds".

To sum it all up, a man should not have to worry about looking like a "sissy" or appearing soft to people if he treats a women with respect and the majority of men, who are not chivalrous will and should respect women more because of her independence and ability”(Flood 783). He should be viewed as a real man for doing so. In a women's mind, the ideal man would still open doors for her and do things to please her, but he would also respect her independence and let her make her on choices in life. Chivalry might not be dead after all, perhaps it’s just in a coma, waiting regain conciseness, who know maybe it will be practiced by all men once again.