Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, whose author is unknown, is an Arthurian Romance/Epic that holds a degree of Christian symbolism. These Christian symbols are intermixed with Britannic Pagan traditions and themes in order to appeal more to the common British people at the time of the early Christianization of Britain. This can be supported by the stories of kings being created in the earlier centuries throughout history. In this particular story, this symbolism is important since all the knights of King Arthur’s Court were supposed to follow a certain chivalrous code of conduct, whether present in the courts or away on some other venture. The chivalric code being the embodiment of Christian virtue and valor, which was expected to be personified
Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is the most known 14th century poem that depicts the Arthurian legend. It has been translated from a Middle English dialect by Simon Armitage; unfortunately, very little is known about the original author. Sir Gawain is the protagonist as he is the major source of conflict when he struggles to decide whether his “knightly virtues” are more important than his own life. The ideals of Christian morality and knightly qualities are represented by Gawain’s gold, star-shaped pentangle. The five knightly virtues that Sir Gawain expresses are: generosity, chastity, friendship, piety, and courtesy.
In the Pearl Poet’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an epic story emerges to reveal a man’s journey of honor, honesty, valor, and loyalty. Throughout Gawain’s adventures in the poem, he discovers and demonstrates his own chivalric qualities. Although he makes a few mistakes along the way he strives to be an honorable man.
The lines 1550-1553 from the Pearl poets epic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight epitomizes two of the most important virtues of a noble knight, and Sir Gawain, the man the story follows, defines what is a true knight. He holds a place next to King Arthur and the queen as well as exemplifying two of a knights most important virtues. The first being chastity and the second being courteousness, both however, are very much entwined in this tale. Throughout this epic and many other Arthurian legends praised these traits in the knight and as we shall see, Sir Gawain although still very much human, is a master of both.
Throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, we see many places where redemption and self-worth are extremely important to the plot. Redemption is the act of failing and falling, but getting back up again, time after time. Gawain fails to meet this in many parts of the story, including bad bets, trying to believe he was faultless, and, most importantly, blaming others for things he himself did. While the act of redemption is very real, Sir Gawain does not showcase this.
The main theme of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the journey to maturity of Gawain, the hero. During the passage, Gawain goes through three tests on his development. First, Gawain shows courage and resourcefulness when he volunteers to take the Green Knight’s challenge instead of Arthur doing so. Second, Gawain shows authority, self-restraint, and integrity when he denies the sexual endeavours of the lady of the house. Lastly, Gawain shows bravery when he faces death by keeping his meeting with the Green
Would you be able to hold steadfast to your core values and knighthood when faced against a sorcerous Green Knight with an itching to kill? Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, written by the Pearl Poet, is a Medieval Romance tale about a noble knight who puts his life on the line in order to defend his king. Sir Gawain is a prestigious knight who demonstrates passionate integrity and honor as he remains faithful to King Arthur and holds true to the knight's code of chivalry.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a story that celebrates courage in a positive light in the majority of situations but we see that courage can have a negative impact on some of the characters in the story and it questions knighthood. Courage is an honourable term defined “The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery:” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/courage) and for Gawain to be called this term defines him as a knight. His actions throughout the story makes it difficult to analyse how courage is treated in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. A lot of Gawain’s experiences shape the theme of courage in this story and can make it
Chivalry is code of conduct used by knights, and heroes of the past. “Chivalry, the order of knighthood and, especially, the code of knightly behavior that was a feature of the High and later Middle Ages in western Europe”(Funk). Along with this idea of Chivalry, Feudalism was used in Europe as well. Feudalism is the system of both government and land ownership, where in exchange for a nobleman 's oath of loyalty, a king would grant them land. The ideas of Chivalry was expressed through out all sorts of different literary works, such as songs, poems, and more. The Two stories of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Morte D’Arthur express some of the ideas of Chivalry.
The ideals of Christianity and chivalry are brought together in Gawain’s symbolic shield. The pentangle on Gawain's shield is represented between five virtues. These virtues are friendship, generosity, chastity, courtesy, and piety. Each virtue displays the characteristics of a knight
Beginning and ending with references to Troy, the poet of Gawain and the Green Knight, foreshadows the narrative with the paradox of failure being framed as greatness. Starting the poem with a discussion of the fall of Troy, speaks to the destined failure of Gawain and his quest, both literally and figuratively. Ending the poem with a reference to Troy’s greatness, presents the paradox of a fallen city, and with an army that lost the war, but, is still hailed as great.
In the Pearl Poet’s poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, we get a taste of what living by the chivalric code was like. The chivalric code was a list of standards which a knight was to live up to and, Sir Gawain does not fall short of doing just that. Sir Gawain upholds the chivalric code by proving his chivalry, piety, and chasity.
The Character who possesses the most courage in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is most definitely Sir Gawain