Publication Year

1976

Keywords

Literature, gallant, romanticism, Shakespeare, Shaw, literary criticism

Disciplines

Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature

Abstract

The gallant is a mixture of bravado and romanticism; whatever faults he may have of impatience, rudeness, or vanity, he is a soldier with style. The title connotes a man of joyous excess; in the tavern, the boudoir, or on the battlefield, he is feverishly extravagant. He is a proud and preening figure, well aware of his abilities and quite anxious to impress others with them. The gallant is often intent upon a pressing commission, both to prove his valor and to achieve a great end. To young rebels such as Hotspur, in Shakespeare's King Henry IV, Part 1, the glamour of war and the prize of glory are sufficient to send him leaping to "pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon," as he seeks to dethrone the unlawful king. The beautiful Roxane serves as inspiration and guiding star for Cyrano de Bergerac, in Edmond Rostand's play of the same name. St. Joan, the title character of George Bernard Shaw's play, struts about in arrogant self-confidence, determined to wrest France from the grip of the English. Joan is an enthusiastic, as well as determined, gallant, and though worn to despair by her trial, she makes a final stand for truth.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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