Comparing Women In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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Women play a prominent role in medieval literature as they break tradition by gaining power and using it to their advantage. At this time, societies only allowed men to have power; however, the female characters in The Merchant’s Tale and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight defy this tradition. May and Lady Bertilak, Proserpina and Morgan le Fay, both have common tactics in order to gain power. Using the art of deception give May and Lady Bertilak the power to gain control over men. One day, in the garden, May asks if she can get on January’s back so she can get a pear. Little did January know that his squire also his wife’s courtly lover, Damien, is standing in the pear tree waiting for May. Once May climbs into the tree, she starts having sex with Damian. Meanwhile, January watches from below and furiously demands May to explain herself. May…show more content…
May deceives January by justifying committing adultery and telling him that he “may be frequently deceived by [his eyesight]” (CT.p.387). By deceiving January, May is saving herself from being punished. Lady Bertilak deceives Gawain by giving him the green girdle and telling him to “conceal it well” (GGK line 1862). The Green Knight strikes Gawain’s three times, but only nicks Gawain’s neck once; demonstrating the consequence concealing the green girdle from Lord Bertilak. Gawain blames Lady Bertilak for deceiving him causing him to not adhere to the contract because “the wiles of a woman be wooed into sorrow, for so was Adam by one” (GGK line 2415-2416), implying that many great men in history have been deceived by women. This shows how
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