NAME INSTRUCTOR COURSE DATE The Five Knightly Virtues of Sir Gawain Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is the most known 14th century poem that depicts the Arthurian legend. It has been translated from a Middle English dialect by Simon Armitage; unfortunately, very little is known about the original author. Sir Gawain is the protagonist as he is the major source of conflict when he struggles to decide whether his “knightly virtues” are more important than his own life.
The form of government that takes place during Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is feudalism it’s a cast system that was made up of kings, nobles, knights and peasants. The way feudalism worked was by exchanging land for military service which was then passed down to the peasants who would cultivate the land in return for living on it. In medieval times the knights were expected to be honorable, brave and fight for justice. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is considered a masterpiece that was written back in the fourteenth century. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by John Gardner talks about the lesson learned by Sir Gawain such as honor, keeping ones word and learning form ones past mistakes.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale about the imperfections of men. In this case, these imperfections are that men try to prove that they have certain desirable qualities and they try to ensure that they get what they wish for. Presenting a challenge, a Green Knight enters King Arthur’s hall on Christmas. If any knight is brave enough to cut off the Green Knight’s head, he can keep the Green Knight’s ax. Furthermore, the Green Knight will then return a strike to that knight in one year.
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain faces many temptations from Bertilak's wife while staying in her husband's castle. These temptations are directly related with the hunt that Bertilak is going on in the outside world.
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.
Gawain is courteous to no end, even asking for permission to “abandon [his] bench and stand by [Arthur]” (Pearl Poet l. 344) so he may risk his own life instead of his kings to abide by the Green Knights game. He even humbly states that he “[is] the weakest” (l. 354) and that it would be the least lost of he was to parish which is untrue. Gawain is also extremely courteous when he is denying the wife’s attempts to seduce him saying he is “a knight unworthy” (l.1245). He plays a game of wits as he must not offend her advances but at the same time must not let the wife win the “game” because then he would have to lay with her and that would be uncourteous to his host, Lord Bertilak. The only time Gawain faults in his courteousness is when he refuses to acknowledge the agreement he made with Lord Bertilak which was “whatever [Lord Bertilak] win[s] in the wood shall at once be [Gawain’s] and whatever gain [Gawain] may get [he] shall give in exchange” (ll. 1107-08).
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight there are many archetypal figures influencing Gawain’s growth as a hero. Gawain must deal with many characters throughout his journey, these dealings reveal many sides of his character and tend to his moral growth. He learns many things from different aspects of the journey but he learns the most from the interactions with the characters. A number of characters in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight play key archetypal roles in the perfecting of the hero’s moral development.
In this time period a knight’s honor was everything, without it the noblemen would become a huge disgrace. Sir Gawain’s honor is immediately tested at the beginning of the poem. He gives his word in the beheading game and intends to keep it even though it’s obvious that the Green Knight had tricked him. “Blood gutters brightly against his green gown, yet the man doesn’t shudder or stagger or sink, but trudges towards them […] gripping his head by a handful of hair. Then he settles himself in his seat with the ease of a man unmarked” (429-439).
This tale is based on the Celtic Sovereignty myth about a king marrying a goddess who initially appeared to be hideous, but with the willing kiss from the king, turned into a beautiful woman. In Sir Gawain, the knight is being tested to see if he will choose virtue and chastity or the beauty and promiscuity of the Lady of the Castle. If Sir Gawain had his way with the Lady of the Castle, he would have been killed because like the animal hunts, Gawain is prey to the Lady, who puts his chivalry, loyalty, and chastity to the test by trying to seduce him. Through this romantic litmus test, Sir Gawain is being tested to see if his moral values can withhold challenges such as the temptation of beauty.
Gawain Often in stories, a character's integrity is tested by trials or temptations. In “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” we see Gawain’s integrity tested from the beginning of the story to the end. Nevertheless, he always remained faithful and loyal to the challenge that is given to him. We also see how Splendid the Green Knight views Gawain on the initial challenge and in the final challenge.
Gawain’s values as a knight are in conflict, because he needs to be polite to the Lady, but he is also loyal to the Lord. Gawain ultimately fails
Gawain cannot redeem himself by blaming others, but does it anyways. He was supposed to be the epitome of chivalry and purity, but blames a single woman, the lady of the manor, on everything that he started. Gawain was the one to agree to the Green Knight’s challenge, not a woman who told him to. He took on the lord’s bets, without the ladies saying anything to him. Gawain’s pride and misogyny showed that he could not complete, or even start a path to redemption.
Sir Gawain encounters lady Bertilak as he nears the green chapel. Lady Bertilak takes advantage of her beauty while Gawain stays in her and her husband’s, lord Bertilak, castle. While staying in the castle, Sir Gawain is presented a
The paradox of Christ also raises the stance that there is nothing wrong with the imperfection and contradictions viewed while reading this poem. Most interestingly, the paradoxical Pearl poet added at the end of this poem, “HONI SOIT QUI MAL PENCE” (Part IV, L. 2531) otherwise translated as; “evil be to him who evil thinks” (page 64). This sentence adds further validation to the story of Sir Gawain by inserting background of King Edward. In conclusion, Sir Gawain and the green knight present a contradiction which teaches the reader a simple truth, which many often forget. We as humans are not perfect, however that does not mean we are