C.S. Lewis Chivalry Essay

Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.” ― “Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.Now, it seems, the people must either be chivalrous on its own resources, or else choose between the two remaining alternatives of brutality and softness.

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This model encourages us to live in Christ as examples of godly men.

in an effort to learn how we can motivate our sons to live lives of honor and nobility. Lewis wrote that the disparate strands of manhood– fierceness and gentleness–can find healthy synthesis in the person of the knight and in the code of chivalry.

Already in our own Kipling the heroic qualities of his favourite subalterns are dangerously removed from meekness and urbanity.

One cannot quite imagine the adult Stalkey in the same room with the best of Nelson’s captains, still less with Sidney!

Worse still, it represents as a natural fact something which is really a human ideal, nowhere fully attained, and nowhere attained at all without arduous discipline. Homer’s Achilles knows nothing of the demand that the brave should also be the modest and the merciful.

He kills men as they cry for quarter or takes them prisoner to kill them at leisure.” ― “Nature does not, in the long run, favour life.

The ideal embodied in Launcelot is ‘escapism’ in a sense never dreamed of by those who use that word; it offers the only possible escape from a world divided between wolves who do not understand, and sheep who cannot defend, the things which make life desirable.” ― “The knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped-off limbs; he is also a demure, almost a maidenlike, guest in hall, a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man.

He is not a compromise or happy mean between ferocity and meekness; he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth.

When Launcelot heard himself pronounced the best knight in the world, ‘he wept as he had been a child that had been beaten’.2” ― “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.


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