Sample Essay

The five virtues are tested throughout the poem. First of all, his alertness” was put to test when he was traveling all alone in the wilderness that is full of serpents, wolves, bears and boars and even giants who he has to fight. Secondly, his other test was of loyalty to God as “had he not borne himself bravely, and been on God’s side, / He had met with many mishaps and mortal harms” (Anonymous, p.32).
He also shows devotion to his religion and receives help from the heavens when on Christmas Eve he asks Mary for a place to listen to the mass and the castle appears before his eyes miraculously.  When this happens, he has to pass the test of brotherly love, which he does without any problems what so ever by showing brotherly love towards the lord of the castle. Now, he is tested for his beneficence towards the lord which he exemplifies. When he offers without even being asked to, ““both tarry, and undertake any task you [the lord] devise” (Anonymous, p.39).  Now here comes a test which is perhaps the hardest. His pure mind is put at test by the Lord’s lady. He was tested by rejecting the sexual advances of the Lord’s lady while maintaining his dignity and avoiding un-chivalry. The Lady says, “My body is here at hand, Your each wish to fulfill; Your servant to command, I am, and shall be still” (Anonymous, p.44). He passed this test easily by means of courtesy even thought, “she tested his temper and tried many a time / … to entice him to sin, / … so fair was his defense that no fault appeared” (Anonymous. p.51).

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