In The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, the narrator clearly admires the knight, who exemplifies the virtues and honors that a medieval knight needed to possess. The narrator describes that he was a “worthy man.” The knight valued chivalry, truth, honor, freedom and respect; these were often considered a part of a knight’s code of honor. Many who encountered the knight admired him for his worthiness. After the General Prologue, Chaucer considers the story of the knight first in the tales. The knight led the procession; this clearly indicates his leadership abilities and bravery.
The tale of the knight clearly exemplifies the duties of courtly love, which was considered the ideal love affair during this time period. The narrator also recounts his many tales of battle and bravery. The knight fought Muslims across the known world. He went to Alexandria, Lithuania and Russia. At this time, the Crusades occurred during which knights from Christian lands traveled to Jerusalem and abroad to defend their faith. This was yet another example of the knight fulfilling his duties and obligations.
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the ideal qualities of a knight are also discussed. The narrator believes that an ideal knight would uphold the virtues of chivalry, courtly love and valor. Gawain does live up to this code in many ways. He is severely loyal to his king, as a knight should be. He bravely agrees to the Green Knight’s challenge to save his king from this task. However, he does fail in his code as well. Gawain was not completely honest in his dealings. He failed to mention the green corset given to him by the lady of the manor.
He does this because he is fearful of the Green Knight. He believes this corset will help protect him. However, a knight is required to be honest and brave at all times. In the end, he does receive one knick on his neck as punishment for not mentioning the corset. He did succeed in the quest because he willingly went to look for the Green Knight, indicating honor on his part.