Okay, I have two papers to write and I've been slackin' mucho, primarily because I'm preoccupied with updating this site. Unlike the faggots (and I don't use the term derogatively, nudge nudge wink wink) over at Telcobox, I don't need a staff of eight to run a glaucoma-inducing website with content that strains for laughs. The fact that the TB boys (note the plural) have to fake being slapped by women is pathetic enough to discredit them entirely. Next thing you know, they'll break out the penis enlargers and pretend to be niggas. Oh wait…
Yes, total creative control is extremely time-consuming, but I manage. Sleep can be compromised. If only there wasn't this little thing called "school." In an effort to motivate myself to actually do schoolwork AND continue to churn out a daily dose of digital sedatives, I've decided to post what I have so far for paper number one today. Whoo! Prepare to laugh harder than a petrified erection.
3. To what extent do Chaucer's Knight and Squire share similar concepts of chivalry with Beowulf? To what extent do all three characters represent different understandings of the nature and purposes of chivalry?
In his study of human behavior, psychologist Sigmund Freud conceived of three mechanisms responsible for the way human beings conduct themselves: the id, the superego, and the ego. The id is regarded as the reservoir of instinctual drives and source of energy. Dominated by the pleasure principle and irrational wishing, its impulses are controlled through the development of the ego and superego. The superego is associated with ethical and moral conduct and conceptualized as responsible for self-imposed standards of behavior. It is frequently characterized as an internalized code or as a kind of conscience, punishing transgressions with feelings of guilt. The ego experiences the external world, or reality, through the senses, organizes thought processes rationally, and governs action. It mediates between the impulses of the id, the demands of the environment, and the standards of the superego.
Many people discredit Freud's theory of behavior because of its intangibility. We cannot observe the id at work; it is merely a concept. Likewise, chivalry is something for which we cannot provide a definitive definition. We can say that chivalry embodies the qualities of a knight, but qualities are subject to interpretation; chivalry might include elements of courage, honor, discipline, or excellence. If we think of chivalry as a behavioral construct, however, then we can apply Freud's behavioral mechanisms when discussing the Knight and Squire from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Beowulf from Beowulf. Each character represents a different approach to chivalry. Beowulf is our id, the Squire is our superego, and the Knight is our ego.
Beowulf the Geat "bore himself with valor; he was formidable in battle yet behaved with honor and took no advantage; never cut down a comrade who was drunk, kept his temper and, warrior that he was, watched and controlled his God-sent strength and his outstanding natural powers" (79). On a superficial level, Beowulf is the apotheosis of chivalry, brave and virtuous, wrought with the fury of Armageddon. But for whom does he really test his fate willingly and repeatedly for? Himself, mainly. Beowulf speaks loudly and walks with a big stick, flaunting his machismo prowess everywhere he goes and later basking in the accouterments of success. Not only will Beowulf defeat Grendel, he will defeat the monster with his bare hands. A very instinctual man, Beowulf demands immediate satisfaction, and does so through boasting. His strong suit is personal heroism, but every time Beowulf makes a boast, he effectively binds himself to a contract that, while remarkable if accomplished, has the potential to backfire. Maybe Beowulf's belief that "for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked" (44) can be reconciled with his cocky swagger. Nevertheless, even when he senses death with the rise of the Dragon, Beowulf ignores Hrothgar's advice "not [to] give way to pride" (70), and lets his mouth write a check that his body ultimately cannot cash due to old age. His is a case of excess in chivalry, a personal excess. Beowulf lives entirely self-contained and isolated from the world about him, bent on achieving his own (often hedonistic) aims. Thus, where he flourishes as a knight, he fails as a king, when the fates of many people lie in his hands.
Despite having "been som time in chivachye" (Chaucher 217) at a relatively young age, the Squire really does not have much experience with heroic virtues. Instead, he concerns himself primarily with other ideals of nobility – the courtly ones – as evident in the narrator's preoccupation with the Squire's mannerisms. Like the little Lord Fauntleroy of chivalry, the Squire presents himself as "curteis […] lowely, and servisable" with the ability to "songes make, and wel endite, / Juste and eek daunce, and wel portaye and write" (Chaucer 217). By succumbing to societal norms and its conception of knighthood, the Squire makes himself out to be a proper neophyte warrior who seems downright by-the-book in comparison to Beowulf and the Knight.
Eh. It's unfinished.