Analyze the following passage and discuss its criticism of courtly love conventions: "The titanic went down, they say, to the strains of the hymn 'Nearer, My God, to Thee" as the band courageously played on. It lent a final grace note to the tragedy. Today, we don't do grace notes. We've gone from 'Women and children, first,' to 'Dude, where's my lifeboat?' As the women of the Costa Concordia can testify, that's a long way down."

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Indeed, the passage here does show how the courtly love convention has faded over time, but to understand what this means, we have to look at the courtly love tradition and how this quote shows the contrast between courtly love and the modern outlook.

In the courtly love tradition, women were placed upon the proverbial pedestal, where they were admired, respected, and protected by men. Courtesy was a priority, and men would go out of their way to show favor to women. The old images of a man putting his cloak over a mud puddle and helping a lady step across or of a man opening a door and helping a lady out of a carriage give a nod to this tradition. Indeed, men were expected to show all deference to their ladies, seek to fulfill their every request, and put their ladies' well-being before their own. At the heights of courtly love, a man would even die to save his lady if necessary. Further, religious devotion often figured into the courtly love tradition, as did a sense of beauty and propriety in suffering for a loved one.

We can see, then, the courtly love aspects of the first part of the quotation about the Titanic. The men helped women and children into lifeboats as the ship went down, and since there were not nearly enough lifeboats for all the passengers, these men sacrificed themselves to save others. The ship's band continued to play as the ship sank, providing inspiration with well-known hymns as well as a glimpse of beauty in the midst of tragedy.

Now, though, let's look at the other side of the picture. Today, it's every person for himself or herself. Personal survival seems to be the most important priority. Indeed, the self-sacrificial ideas of courtly love have come a “long way down” to self-promotion and self-survival. Therefore, it would seem that this passage is not so much criticizing courtly love conventions as mourning their passing and revealing how many people now days put themselves first and everyone else second.

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