Imperfection In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

1343 Words6 Pages
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a romance, composed in the mid-to late 14th century. It is one of the prominent Medieval English romance in the Arthurian tradition. Larry Benson describes the peom as “both a tragic romance with the sad moral that perfection is beyond our grasp and an unromantic comedy with the happy point that if a man aims high enough he can come as near perfection as this world allows.” There is only one copy of the earlier original manuscript, which dates from 1400. It has been kept since then in the British Library. Because of the poem Pearl - which can be found in the same manuscript – the anonymous author is alternatively called “The Pearl Poet” or also “The Gawain Poet.” There are no historical records regarding the author, except for the assumption that he had written another two poems in the manuscript, which are as follow - Cleanness and Patience. The romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was published in 1830. Since then numerous translations and retelling of the text have been made.
The concept of imperfection is central for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and thus the characters in the poem get rendered by the critics in totally opposite ways. They are interpreted as perfect human creatures and utter goodness, but in the same time they are also derided as absurd, evil, or childish. Everything is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight can be rendered in double ways which also creates that sense of imperfection. The other main theme in the poem is
Open Document