Dante,Beatrice and the rules of Courtly Love

In courtly love, a man passionately devoted himself to a woman. Courtly love was chivalrous and beautiful, but was also about misery, rejection and denial. In the Middle Ages love and marriage didn?t necessarily go together. Marriages were usually political arrangements and love was an “extramarital emotion” (Knights). However, if a husband discovered his wife was cheating on him, he was expected to kill his wife and the man she was with. Therefore, men usually chose to admire the object of their affection as unattainable and considered it enough to “chase her with honor” (Knights). There were five main rules of courtly love and Dante seemed to obey them to a tee. The first rule is to suffer for love and worship until it hurts. Dante seemed to be in constant adoration of Beatrice, suffered without her and worshiped her in his poetry. Rule two states that “Marriage is no excuse for not loving someone else”(Knights). Dante was married, as was Beatrice, but this never stopped Dante from loving her. The adorer, according to rule three, is not to hesitate to grovel in song. Dante chose to grovel sorrowfully in poetry, which is a form of song. Rule four states that “Thou shalt in all things be courteous” (Knights). Dante believed that the mark of a true gentleman, other than courage and valor was courtesy. In a social setting it was understood a gentleman would converse “with the ladies in gallant fashion” (Barbi 8). The final rule stated that “Love made public rarely endures”(Knights). Dante wasn?t public with his love of Beatrice until after her death because, “love decreases?if a woman finds that her lover is foolish and indiscreet” (Knights). Dante showed the true meaning of courtly love and was a gentleman throughout his life.

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