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Chivalric Code In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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In the medieval romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain strives to live by the chivalric code, but instead of living like a “knight” he comes short of the knight modern readers think of. The reader may think Sir Gawain is being knightly, but in reality he is failing to meet the extraordinarily lofty standards of the chivalric code by his actions in the beheading and exchange games. The scene that best illuminates Gawain's flaws of following the chivalric code is when he takes the place of King Arthur to participate in the beheading game with the Green Knight. The game is where an opponent gets to strike the Green Knight, and then a year later the Green Knight gets to strike back. Gawain pronounces to King Arthur, “I am the weakest of them, I know and the dullest-minded, so my death would be the least loss” (Winny 354-355). The deed of taking the…show more content…
It actually favors the person who deals the first blow. Gawain knows that he is assured to win because by killing the other person first they will not be able to strike back since they are dead. He takes the king’s place not because he wanted to be chivalrous, but he wants to look chivalrous while the other nobles are watching. Carl Martin, the author of The Cipher of Chivalry: Violence as Courtly Play in the World of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, puts it as “[The Green Knight’s] ‘unfair advantage’ insures his chance to deliver a similar blow, equalizing the game’s inherent imbalance - without which Gawain would have perpetrated no more than a gruesome execution” (Martin 317). Gawain enters the fight knowing that he has no chance of losing if the Green
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