Grogan's Essay 'Sir Gawain And The Green Knight'

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It is so easy to point out the flaws in others, but how difficult and painful it is to address one’s own flawed life. In commentaries on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Grogan addresses the faults within Gawain through Lady Bertilak, and Shoaf acknowledges Gawain’s sin, and Benson emphasises Gawain’s subtle obsession with his identity.
Nedra C. Grogan in her essay “Mulier est hominis confusio: The Green Knight’s Lady” approaches the lady in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in a different view than other critics. Grogan points out that many neglect the importance and significance that lady Bertilak serves, and therefore closely analyzes the lady in her personality, abilities, and her purpose in the poem.
Grogan begins the essay by determining
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Allen Shoaf directs a chapter from his book, “The Poem as Green Girdle: Commercium in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” to Gawain’s sin in pride, covetousness, and idolatry:“The man who is proud of his life -- its price, beauty, glory, what have you – necessarily fears for the loss of that life”(Shoaf 1). Knowing that Gawain fears the loss of his life, Shoaf notices Gawain’s sin and how it envelops him. Gawain magnifies the importance of the green girdle to equal the importance of his own life: “A piece of cloth, has become identical with his life, so much so that he has paid for it with the meaning of his life”(Shoaf 1). Gawain is now the servant to the idle he makes his master: the girdle. He puts his trust and his life into this object, and Gawain is engulfed in idolatry. Though Shoaf claims it is not just the idolatry of the green girdle: “More importantly, the creature Gawain has become the Creator, Creator of himself… he is the Creator of the ideal – – that he is chivalry itself… Gawain comes to believe… that accepting the green girdle is chivalrous”(Shoaf 3). Gawain raises himself as an idol. His pride compels him to stay true to both the lord and the lady. Lady Bertilak only encourages him “at one point in her effort… to humble Gawain… Bertilak’s Lady sweetens her flattery with a hint, though just the barest hint that Gawain is the author of knighthood and chivalry” (Shoaf
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