The Importance Of Honor In The Early Middle Ages

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Throughout the Early Middle Ages, Knights were among some of the most respected people in all of Europe. Their willingness to fight for their king and be a loyal vassal made them a valuable asset to the king’s army. One of the values that knights prided themselves on was that of honor. The importance of honor in a knight’s everyday life is prevalently displayed in the poem The Song of Roland, a story about Charlemagne’s army during the Battle of Roncesvalles. Throughout the story, Count Roland and his fellow knights do their best to act with honor at all times, showing how important it is to them. In the poem Song of Roland, honor is defined as staying loyal to one’s companions and always upholding one’s duty, even if death is the result of …show more content…
Roland is very close with Oliver, and considers him his best companion. The two of them complement each other rather well. According to the narrator, “Roland is brave and Oliver is wise; both are marvelous vassals” (64). When two knights work well together, they will grow quite fond of eachother. Through thick and thin, the companionship between knights will prevail. For example, when the Frankish army was losing the battle, Roland and Oliver had a falling out. Oliver believes that Roland’s hubris and care for his personal reputation was the cause of the death of their men. Oliver tells Roland, “Today our loyal comradeship is at it’s end; before evening there will be a sorrowful farewell” (84). Although Oliver planned to part ways with Roland, he never made it that far. Oliver is struck by King Marsile’s uncle, Marganice, which gives him a mortal wound. The first thing Oliver does when he is hurt is calls for Roland to fight as his side, showing his appreciation and respect for Roland as a warrior. When Roland realizes his closest friend is on the verge of death, he faints from his horse and rushes to Oliver’s side. After Oliver dies, Roland is crushed. He says to Oliver, “Lord companion, how sad that you were so bold; we have been together for days and years. You have caused me no harm and I have not wronged you. Now that you are dead, it grieves …show more content…
Knights were people who prided themselves on living an honorable life. The honorable life of a knight is displayed in the poem The Song of Roland, and is seen in many different situations. For example, Ganelon acts honorably by carrying out his duty to Charlemagne and travelling to Saragossa, although he does not personally want to. Roland and Oliver, two very close companions, are also seen acting honorably, for they show loyalty and respect for each other in times of hardship and in the event of Oliver’s death. Roland, acting on pride, does not blow Charlemagne’s oliphant for help, for he does not want to smear his name and the name of the Franks. Roland’s pride ultimately cost him his life, yet by his own code he died honorably, for he did not die a coward. These examples prove that The Song of Roland defines an honorable life for a knight as staying loyal to one’s companions and always upholding one’s duty, even if death is the result of their

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