Lancelot: Or, the Knight of the Cart

What values are exhibited in The Knight of the Cart? Can you discern different values, and are they in conflict?

the Knight of the cart

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Chivalry, the code of conduct by which medieval knights were bound, is unsurprisingly a major theme of the work. Intrinsic to chivalry is honor, which is really the guiding principle of chivalrous behavior. A knight was expected first and foremost to act honorably, whether in his treatment of women, his behavior in battle, or his presentation to others. Much of the action in the story derives from the fulfillment (or lack thereof) of honor. Part of Chrétien's subversion is that Lancelot must often eschew the demands of honor in order to show devotion towards his beloved Guinevere. The titular cart ride is the clearest example of this. Much of Chrétien's brilliance comes from paying homage to the codes of chivalry while suggesting that they often work in direct counterpoint to an individual's own desires.