Essay On Symbolism In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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The poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight focuses on Sir Gawain’s attempt to survive a game brought on by the green knight during Christmas time. This game has Sir Gawain take an axe to the green knight’s head and in return the green knight will come back in a year and return the blow. As time passes by, Sir Gawain realizes he is reaching death because he knows he will not survive the axe as the green knight did; therefore, he decides to find the green knight before the green knight finds him. The author provides the audience with symbolism to show how although Sir Gawain has knightly virtues, he is human and capable of error. The green girdle symbolizes moral truth, which is demonstrated by how the character passes every test except one.…show more content…
After the lady realizes Sir Gawain will not break his chastity, she tests his honor by telling him if he wears the green girdle “There is no hand under heaven that could hew him down, / For he could not be killed by any craft on earth” (Page 1681, Lines 1853-1854). Sir Gawain realizes with this girdle, he can honor the green knight by fulfilling the promise he made and still survive. However, doing this will cause him to lie to the host during the daily gift exchange game, thus breaking his vow of honesty. Sir Gawain realizes he made a mistake and hates the fact that he was not chivalrous; therefore, he and his men wear a green belt to remember this sin. The author provides a reader to the moral truth through the symbolism of the green girdle by revealing how men are human and capable of error. The truth of the story shows the virtues Sir Gawain lives by kept him from sleeping with the host’s wife; however, he values his life more than he realizes which causes him to enter the trap set by the green knight. The author wants a reader to realize everyone should remain conscious of their weaknesses and strive to be the best person they can be, but to not beat themselves up because people are merely human and will make
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