In the early 11th century, King Ctuz I (Norse seafarer) conquers England. Afterwards, many peasants and yeomanry were demoted to serfs, and were taxed heavily by the new king. Earl Leofric of Coventry also was cruel towards his rulings and tortured his subjects with high taxation. Feeling sorry for the people of Coventry who were suffering under his husband’s harsh tax rates, she appeals to her husband’s heart but is rejected. Lady Godiva was a devout Christian who believed that the Earl will one day be touched the grace of the Lord, and will listen to the voices of the people who are struggling.” She kept her faith and didn’t give up on her cause. After relentless pleas by Lady Godiva, Leofric finally gives in, but provides her with a condition stating that she must ride around the town naked to express her love for the farmers.
The Earl believed that such request would be enough for Lady Godiva give up on her cause. However, believing in the greater good than herself, she undressed herself and began riding around town without a single cloth on her. The word that Lady Godiva was riding naked around town soon spread around, and the Earl expected his Lady give up and return back to the castle in shame.
The Earl was wrong. Moved by her kindness and devotion, the citizens of Coventry did not come out of their house until Lady Godiva finished going around town. They even shut all their curtains down out of respect. Due to her selflessness, the Earl eventually gave up trying to tax the citizens of Coventry.
Lady Godiva was a woman who had everything. Her attitude towards helping others well display the noblesse oblige mentality that people had in earlier times. Would such a person exist in today’s world who would sacrifice herself out of pure courage and bravery? We live in a fast, urban, modern world where we are struggling to adapt to rapid changes around us.
Sadness and anger moves around too fast. Someone’s sacrifice becomes an agenda, an issue, and becomes criticized by the public. There is a widespread belief we perform our sacrifice, to put on a show with a mask. We live in Chasse aux sorceries’ with a faded sense of noblesse oblige. Sincerity is nowhere to be scene.
According to the legend of Lady Godiva, while everyone else remained indoors with their curtains, only one man, now titled Peeping Tom, sneaked a peak at the naked Lady Godiva. The legend tells that Peeping Tom was blinded by God due to his insolence. Even though there still are a lot of Peeping Toms in this world, good, kind people still exist in our world today. Even during the recent tragedy in Korea, there are many others, who are trying to take advantage and exploit the people’s grief and sadness, rather than trying to help them. What has happened to the world?
I began working on my project in hopes of re-awakening the magnanimity of Lady Godiva and her sense of self-sacrifice. I do not wish to criticize anyone. No one has the right to easily criticize others. People all have reasons behind their actions. I only hope that we can grow warmer and kinder to one another, helping each other in times of need so that we may become role models for our future generation like Lady Godiva.