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The Chinese Knight Errant - Essay Example

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The Chinese Knight Errant

However, the material realm is inadequate to construct a more complete definition of what it means to be a Knight Errant, as many of the qualities are the abstract concepts that go hand in hand with morality. The Knight Errant is a principle. It is the principle of right and wrong that guides our decisions as we pursue our ethical objectives. When faced with a moral dilemma, a solution could be forthcoming by simply asking ourselves; What would a Knight Errant do In the answer we would find truth, honesty, compassion, obligation, sincerity, respect, and a wealth of human spirituality that makes us genuinely and uniquely a moral human being.
The Knight Errant is selfless in their pursuit of justice in the name of righteousness. This is not a half-hearted endeavor to settle a score or seek revenge for a wrong committed against oneself or one's family. The Knight Errant serves righteousness as a subject serves a master. The only purpose of their actions is to remain true to their moral code that mandates doing the right thing without regards to personal cost, loss, or gain. In the story The Sung Founder Escorts Ching-Niang One Thousand Li translated by LS Lieu, the protagonist Chao K'uang-yin escorts a beautiful young lady through treacherous territory on a journey back to her home. The Knight Errant is a perfect gentleman and never pursues the lady from an aspect of lust. Her family questions the fact that any man could be so pure of heart. Chao is genuinely miffed that anyone would question his motives for helping the beautiful girl. When asked about it he flies into a rage and shouts, "I came here out of righteousness, but you've insulted me with such words. If I coveted her beauty, we'd have been married on the way" (74). This was not a false sense of being forced to do the right thing, it was a genuine display of righteousness that transcends our everyday decisions to behave and act in an acceptable manner. The Knight Errant was not simply following his social norms; he was being true to himself and his beliefs.
The acts of a Knight Errant, and the core principle of righteousness, carry over across time and culture as we view it from the perspective of our own value system and look at it through the lens of our current social context. While many of the acts may seem violent and gruesome, their horror is diluted by the principle of justice. Just as the Knight Errant is not a man, the deeds they commit are not the acts. A Knight that kills another man is not a murderer, but an instrument of faith that is correcting a past injustice or a current threat. The deed of killing is not murder, but an act that rectifies past wrongs or eliminates present dangers. In addition, the character does not have to carry the label of Knight Errant to perform as one. The entity and its acts are merely the results of the motivation that drives the action. It is not a formalized or well-defined schema. In the story The Lady Knight Errant translated by LS Lieu, a young woman is asked what she is carrying in the leather bag by her side. She replies "The head of my enemy" (80). Her friend curiously looks inside the bag. "He saw a bearded head, all smashed and smeared with blood" (80). The woman continues to ...Show more

Summary

The Knight Errant that is celebrated in Chinese literature has been replicated and evolved as it has worked its way into the stories and myths told around the world today. The Knight Errant can appear as a knight in shining amour, a chivalrous savior, a brave caudillo, the unselfish warrior, the dedicated soldier, or the lonesome cowboy on the American range…
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The Chinese Knight Errant essay example
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