In the UK, one of the greatest honours to receive is the knighthood. To be knighted by the King or Queen, and referred to as "Sir", (or "Dame" when the honour is awarded to a female), has been a tradition in the UK for ages. In medieval times, the title was awarded mainly to candidates who displayed great courage in battle, and who were considered to be chivalrous. Since 1560, however, the award has been extended to recognise non-military service, and includes champions in the fields of the arts, science, and business.
While the official ceremony for a knighting still includes the traditional laying of a sword blade on the right then left shoulder of the knight-to-be, the bar has been lowered in terms of what is expected of the recipient. In medieval times, the event was deeply religious and highly ritualised. The night before, the Squire who was to become a night was required to bathe in the Chapel of the Castle in order to purify his body. He was then required to kneel in silent prayer for ten hours before the famous words "I dub thee Sir Knight" were uttered. This was followed by grand celebrations, and finally a tournament in which the new knight would demonstrate his "knightly" skills.Modern day candidates for the knighthood, we can assume, would likely think to take a quick shower and put on some nice clothes before the big day, but they certainly aren't required to kneel for hours, or don the traditional shining suit of armour! The list of famous celebrities who have been knighted is long, and includes actors such as Bob Hope, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, director Stephen Spielberg, musicians Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Bono, businessman and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and former U.S. president Ronald Reagan.
To turn down the offer of a knighthood is nothing new. As early as the 13th century, so many military personnel were refusing the honour that King Henry III imposed a huge fine as punishment! No fines are imposed these days, but the refusal of a knighthood must cause some distress for the monarchy. Famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking passed on the offer on principle, saying he doesn't like titles. In 2000, singer David Bowie turned it down, saying "I seriously don't know what it's for". Ex-Beatle John Lennon returned his knighthood in protest of UK military decisions at the time.Perhaps the most controversial knighthood in recent times involved that of Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger. He accepted the honour, but not from the Queen herself. It's reported that she didn't have the stomach to perform the ceremony because of Jagger's anti-establishment views, and conveniently scheduled knee surgery on the same day as the ceremony. Jagger's reference to her majesty as the "Chief Witch" at one time, may have had something to do with her decision.
Despite some controversy, the awarding of knighthoods and damehoods is alive and well in the UK. While many criticise some of the choices, even outspoken critics agree that the institution just needs to be simplified. Government minister Gordon Prentice recently suggested that "the whole system needs shaking up". For now, we can continue to admire and applaud those who have earned the legendary distinction.
knight in shining armour - 穿著閃亮盔甲的救難騎士 armour is protective military clothing (made of metal for early knights), but the phrase "my knight in shining armour" is used to describe someone who comes to the rescue of or saves another from a harmful or difficult situationchivalrous - 騎士精神的 courteous and respectful, especially towards womenlowering the bar - 降低標準 If people change the standards required to make things easier, they lower the barritualised -儀式化 always done in a particular situation and in the same way each timedon - 戴上 to put on (a piece of clothing)on principle - 出於信念 for personal moral or ethical reasonstitles - 頭銜 a formal attachment to a name, such as "Mr.", or "Dr."not have the stomach - 缺乏勇氣 to not feel brave or determined enough to do something unpleasant alive and well - 維持活躍 to remain active, current, or important needs shaking up - 需要改革 needs to be changed, re-organised, or re-examined
Choose T (True), F (False), or NG (Not Given) for the following statements:1. A knighthood is awarded only to those who show courage in battle. (F)2. All those receiving a knighthood need to pray for ten hours. (F)3. Present day knights are mostly actors or musicians. (NG)4. Stephen Hawking refused his knighthood for personal reasons. (T)5. The tradition of awarding knighthoods is no longer in practice. (F)
Choose the paragraph (numbered 1-5) that includes the following information:1. Suggestions in modern times for what needs to be done to improve the tradition of the awarding knighthoods. (6)2. A description of what happened in earlier times. (2)3. A comparison of the criteria needed to be considered for a knighthood. (1)4. An example of the consequences that once followed when a person decided to pass on the offer of a knighthood. (4)5. The writer's suggestion of what might be done by candidates in preparation for present day ceremonies. (3)