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From the dawn of civilization, men have sought out the virtuous qualities of humanity and sought to describe them for the purposes of modeling good and acceptable behavior. Whether philosophic, religious, or literary in both prose and poetry, those admirable traits found in people have been advanced by the spokesmen of culture…
2) Within this seemingly objective description, however, there are many subjective impressions brought by the various authors themselves. Particularly, in contrasting the idea of chivalry between Chaucer and Spenser, the very natures of the men cause the simple definition to take on a much more complex expression.
Chaucer approached the code of virtuous conduct from a practical perspective where Spenser's view tended to be more obscure. To Chaucer, "chivalry was a religion, and, in matter of chivalrous sentiment, he is a pronounced moralist" (Schofiled, 1912, p. 37). It was within the rules of conduct prescribed for the nobility that Chaucer found his meaning, and his interpretation of knightly conduct was a function of behavior. Spenser, on the other hand,
"did not agree with those who 'had rather have good discipline delivered by way of precepts or sermoned at large;' he believed that 'much more profitable and gracious is doctrine by ensample than by rule," which caused him to "portray the image of a brave knight in a work of art."
Hence, were Chaucer might express chivalry as a behavior, Spenser would see its best representation as an image. ...
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