By Erika Knutson
You hear the phrase “chivalry is dead” when a male doesn’t hold the door open, give a female his jacket when she is cold, and so on. But chivalry is not dead; it has just taken a new form and changed with the times.
Chivalry is all around you; it defines a good human being.
According to the Lords and Ladies Organization on The Knights Code of Chivalry, “The Knights Code of Chivalry was described in the 14th century by the Duke of Burgundy… the virtues that should be exhibited… [are] as follows; faith [in God], charity, justice, sagacity, prudence, temperance, resolution, truth, liberality, diligence, hope and valour.”
There are the reoccurring themes of selflessness, bravery, good judgement, generosity and self control, whereas, being chivalrous in the 21st century is significantly different than when it was created during the Crusades. Chivalry never had a true definition, nor does it now, but that doesn’t stop you from identifying it when you see it.
“I don’t think you have to believe in God to be chivalrous,” said senior Johnny Hohman. “To be chivalrous I think that you have to show that you care about other people. You have to listen in and accept everyone else’s ideas even if you have your own opinions, you have to listen in and understand the other person’s values. You have to want to make the human race and earth a better place to be. I think the people who you care most about should be your top priority rather than yourself.”
Based on the fact that Hohman can explain what a chivalrous person is proves that chivalry is not dead. Not only is it not dead but a chivalrous person can be any gender.
“There is a reason that the most legendary example of chivalry, King Arthur and his Knights, has survived and surpassed both time and geography,” said college student Katrina Syrris. “Chivalry may have once been only the priorities of esteemed knights, but the values hold true for anyone who holds themselves to high standards and wishes to see himself or herself as a good person.”
This is one of the most major ways chivalry has changed over the years, especially since it’s now socially acceptable for women to have these virtues.
Anyone can be chivalrous in the 21st century; you don’t have to be a knight in order to uphold the honor of being a good person, in general.
“Just by being a above average person I think you are being chivalrous,” said sophomore Charlie Voirin. “Whether it is the textbook definition of holding the door open for someone, giving money to help them pay for their lunch, lending a kind word or having a meaningful conversation, or learning someone’s name and saying hello to them in the hallway, that is being chivalrous.”
Basically, being a kind and thoughtful person who goes out of their way to make someone else be happy or smile is being chivalrous.
Just like in King Arthur’s time not everyone could be a knight, and chivalry only applied them. Not everyone in the 21st century is a “knight,” so you can’t expect everyone to be chivalrous. Also just because one person isn’t the definition of a chivalrous person doesn’t mean that no one is. Chivalry is not dead. It’s everywhere – you can’t just expect that everyone be chivalrous.
Finally, even though some men are not chivalrous, doesn’t mean women can’t be chivalrous. Chivalry is very much alive.
“These values ring righteous to anyone who wants the world to become a better place, one virtuous act at a time,” Syrris said.