In Sir. Gawain and the Green Knight the green girdle meaning changes multiple times during the duration of the story. When Sir. Gawain first accepts the green girdle from the lords lady it symbolizes the desire to live. Gawain and the lord had a deal going on, that they would exchange what they have received at the end of each day. Gawain plays this game fairly by giving all that he has received that day to the lord and the lord doing the same with him. This changes on the third day when the lady gives him the green girdle as something to remember her by. He first refuses this gift but after the lady revels that "whoever wears this girdle cannot be killed"(PartIIISummary), Gawain then accepts the gift and only exchanges the kisses that he …show more content…
When the Green Knight gives him the girdle back Gawain says "I gladly take it and be pleased to posses, not for the pure gold, nor the bright belt itself, not the beauteous pendants/When I ride in renown, and remember with shame the faults and the frailty of the flesh perverse, how it 's tenderness entices the foul taint of sin"(2439-36). It is at this point where the girdle has changed from a symbol of life to a symbol or shame and temptation. Gawain and the Green Knight say goodbye to each other and part ways. Gawain heads home ashamed of what he had done, when he gets home the court is overjoyed that he had returned and he was alive. When the court asks of the quest that he had been on he retells how it was all set up and that he now wears the green girdle out of shame because of his actions. The court is not affected by this instead they change the green girdle into a symbol of honor by wearing it represented "so that was taken as a token by the table round, and he honored that had it" (2519-20). In Sir. Gawain and The Green Knight the girdles symbol changes from life, to shame, and finally honor during the
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. . and since I have asked for it first, let it fall to me" (l. 131-136). After he takes his turn with the axe, and the date is set for the Green Knight to take his turn, Gawain keeps to his word by traveling to what seems the ends of the earth to keep his part of the covenant. At the Lord's castle, he is repeatedly seduced by the Lord's wife, but each time, Sir Gawain refuses, knowing that a knight must remain chaste and true to his word. For two days he kept his word in his agreement with the Lord--another game.
The main theme of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the journey to maturity of Gawain, the hero. During the passage, Gawain goes through three tests on his development. First, Gawain shows courage and resourcefulness when he volunteers to take the Green Knight’s challenge instead of Arthur doing so. Second, Gawain shows authority, self-restraint, and integrity when he denies the sexual endeavours of the lady of the house. Lastly, Gawain shows bravery when he faces death by keeping his meeting with the Green
Gawain conquers lust by refusing the lady's kiss and greed by denying the gold ring. She then offers a green sash that was to protect him from death. Gawain's character is questioned by showing dishonesty through his action of not giving the lord the sash. Gawain finds out that the sash has no power to protect him, however, he still continues to fight for his honor. Because he fought and did not coward down and admitted his fault, Gawain ultimately passed Splendid the Green Knight’s challenge.
Sir Gawain states this because once the green knight revels himself as the king to Sir Gawain he feels ashamed that he took the green sash but indicates that it’s the king’s wife’s fault because she kept insisting that he take it. Although this is indeed true it was because the king put his wife to it to test Sir Gawain’s loyally and honesty but he still puts all the blame on the king’s wife. To summarize anyone who makes mistakes should not put the blame on someone else put rather themselves and learn from the
This scar from the Green Knight helped Gawain to realize his faults and the things that make us human in life. As he realizes these imperfections it says, “Gawain stood their speechless for what felt like a century, so shocked and ashamed that his stomach churned and the fire of his blood brought flames to his face and he wriggled and writhed at the other man’s words.” (179). The Green Knight had tested Gawain and by being honest two-thirds of the time, Gawain was allowed to live, even though he would always live in shame from that moment on. Others believed that he was brave and stood up, but Gawain was ashamed while the knights thought he was honorable.
Gawain, who had struck a deal with the lord to surrender all things he received during his stay in the lord’s dwelling, fails to do so in the name of self-preservation. The lord’s wife gifts Sir Gawain a green sash rumored to protect its possessor from physical harm. Gawain, recalling his inevitable meeting with the Green Knight, decides to contradict his agreement with the lord and “hid[es] it away from all hands and eyes” (Line 1875). His decision blatantly violated the chivalrous code, “failing a moral test in agreeing to hide the girdle from the husband, with whom he has the prior arrangement to exchange winnings” (West 9).
In the lines above it is seen that the Green Knight’s head had completely been severed yet he remains unshaved, it is clear now that Gawain has been deceived. Gawain continues to keep his word even though his journey is lonely and dangerous. “ […] Sir Gawain, Gods servant, on his grim quest, passing long dark nights unloved and alone […] With no friends
Deception is the act of deceiving; or the state of being deceived, which is something of very powerful nature. Deception can cause people to believe things that may or may not be true. Deception in most cases is used when an individual has a certain motive that he or she is trying to achieve. In the play Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, deception is present when Bertilak uses his wife to deceive Sir Gawain, by having her to try to seduce Sir Gawain on three different occasions. Although Sir Gawain remains loyal to Bertilak, Sir Gawain still takes the girdle; therefore, in the end Sir Gawain is left with a sense of failure, proving that Bertilak attained the motive he was seeking.
Sir Gawain shows loyalty and humility when he makes the decision of honoring the promise he made with the Green Knight. This humility drives him to set off to pursue the Green Knight to honor the pact they agreed on. On his arrival at the Green chapel, he calls the Green Knight who emerges to greet him and to fulfill the terms of the contract (Cathell). Sir Gawain presents his neck voluntarily to the Green Knight who feigns two blows (Cooke 4). This is a commitment and a sign of piety that Gawain manifests.
After Gawain comes clean and acknowledges his sin, the Green Knight praises him for being an honorable and chivalrous knight. He then invites Gawain to a great feast, but Gawain humbly states that he must return to his duties and continue to defend and protect King Arthur and his subjects. Sir Gawain even thanks the Green Knight and wishes him well after this frightening test of honor. He says, "I've reveled too well already; but fortune be with you; May He who gives all honors honor you well," (401-402).
When the Lord Bertilak or the green knight, forgives Gawain for this sin he reacts, “Then he grabbed the girdle and ungathered its knot and
The lady tries to convince Gawain to take the girdle by hinting at its magical powers , stating that he “could not be slain through any strategy on earth” (1854) if he wears it . Gawain takes the girdle not out of lust , but because he fears death and that makes him start to believe in its magical powers “It [the girdle] certainly would be splendid to forestall being slain” (1858) . It is a way in which he tries to overcome fear and prepare himself for the appointment with the Green Knight. If we look at it from this perspective , the girdle can also symbolize that Gawain wants to be assured that he lives. The moment he takes the girdle is of great importance : whether he hides or declares the girdle and gives it to the Lord , he violates someone’s trust .
Being merciful is showing God’s dealings with mankind and is a quality of God. Bertilak refers Gawain to being a knight worthy and has no equal. Bertilak exclaims that he was sent on this task to find Gawain and see what he is about. The revelation after the Bertilak spares Gawain’s life and knowing about the girdle all along leads Gawain to truly embrace his flaws and humility for the first time and in so doing to find atonement and a more stable base for Christian behavior than the rule-based chivalry of Arthur’s court. “Sir Gawain And The Green Knight” shows Christian ideas and shows behavior towards everyone.
He challenged King Arthur and his men because he heard of their high reputation. When no one was willing to take the Green Knights challenge he began to criticize them. Sir Gawain finally stood, in the place of King Arthur, to take the Green Knights challenge; he felt that it should be him because he thought he wasn't as worthy or useful as the other knights. After taking the challenge, he was instructed to strike the Green Knight with his own ax; however, if he does so the Green Knight will do the same in return. Once the agreement was made, the Green Knight dismounted his horse and kneels before Sir Gawain exposing his neck.