THE PORTRAITS

The first portrait of the Knight is an idealised one, a type of chivalry, gentle in speech and manner, gallant in battles and tournaments, dignified and simple in his soiled rough tunic and coat of mail. There is perhaps a very light touch of irony in his maiden-like shy manner and his lack of gaiety or liveliness. Perhaps these last two details individualise him: he seems a bit out of place in the age of declining chivaliy. His military campaigns are all actual crusades although he could have fought also in the Hundred Years’ War. In the Mediterranean and north Africa he fought against the Moors and Saracens. He heads the table of honour of the Teutonic knights because of his campaigns against heathen tribes in Prussia, Lithuania and Russia (Reeve).

In contrast to his Christian motives, his son, the squire, seems to have joined the company for pleasure. He is a young courtly lover, an aspirant to Knighthood, whose chivalric prowess has already brought him much honour. Apart form his handsome physique, many more details of his costume and appearance are given. His locks were curled and his gown embroidered like a spring meadow. Fashionable dress was denounced by parish priests as a waste of money that could have gone to the poor. , His fresh and youthful energy is further brought out in his sleepless love, and his ability to sing, dance, draw, write, jost and compose songs anticipates the type of the Renaissance courtier (Reeve).

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