Homosexuality In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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Modern scholarship suggests that the anonymous poet who wrote Sir Gawain and the Green Knight likely had the patronage of King Richard II, as did his contemporaries Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower. In the latter years of his reign, Richard placed great value on arts and culture at court, with particular emphasis on literature. It is likely that those writers who found favor at his court would have endeavored to please and perhaps flatter the king through their work. If, as research suggests, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was first read before an audience that included Richard II, then the poet gauged the tastes of his audience well. Many historians believe that Richard was a homosexual, and rumors of his dalliances with other men were whispered during his lifetime. I will argue that the Gawain poet shaped his subject matter, a tale of Arthurian legend, to suit the secret tastes of his king. The author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight uses homoerotic imagery, homosocial bonding, and triangulation of desire to reveal a coded celebration of homosexual love. The poet uses homoerotic imagery throughout the poem to reveal the desire that Sir Gawain and Lord Bertilak feel for each other. Throughout the course of…show more content…
The two men relish each other’s company. Lord Bertilak does all that he can to make his guest happy and comfortable. He lavishes him with rich clothing, food, drink, and gifts. “’Behave in my house as your heart pleases./To whatever you want you are welcome, do what you will,’” (835-837) Lord Bertilak says, as he welcomes Sir Gawain to his home. Each night, the two sit up together drinking and talking. Sir Gawain is able to unburden himself to Lord Bertilak, and to tell him of his dreaded upcoming meeting with the Green
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