Friday, April 4, 2008

The Necessity of Chivalry

(In response to "The Necessity of Chivalry by C.S. Lewis)

In order to discuss the necessity of chivalry it is important to know how we are using the term in this discussion. C.S. Lewis admits that "the word chivalry has meant at different times a good many different things--from heavy cavalry to giving a woman a seat in a train." This means that chivalry is a broad term. Lewis describes a chivalrous man as one who "is a man of blood and iron" yet "almost maidenlike... a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man." I see his point, that a person who is a fighting man can still be humble and meek and show respect to a lady. I do not however, see a contradiction to chivalry in the sense that a Man is not be a fighting man. I find it perfectly plausible for a man to be considered chivalrous if he is not a knight who is involved in war.

Lewis states, "Let us be quite clear that the ideal is a paradox. Most of us, having grown up among the ruins of the chivalrous tradition, were taught in our youth that a bully is always a coward. Our first week at school refuted this lie, along with its corollary that a truly brave man is always gentle." I think what Lewis is saying is that we see that someone who is chivalrous cannot exist, because of who he is and who people say he is he cannot be kind. However, Lewis says that regardless of what other people tell us, personal experience has lied to us, and it is lying to us again. That what seems impossible is actually possible.

"The man who combines both characters--the knight--is a work not of nature but of art". This is a beautiful description of chivalry. I don't think that chivalry is dead. But I do believe that it has taken a back seat to new age independence. People feel that accepting help is a sign of weakness. Others feel that giving help is not their place. As a result chivalry and manners have given way to a new wave of independence among people. Something that cannot be good.

I believe people are way to defensive about image, women are too concerned with looking weak in comparison to a man, and men are too concerned with looking emotional. In the end, we should just be ourselves and let chivalry shine.

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