Sir Gawain Deception Analysis

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Deception is one of mankind’s most versatile and powerful tools and is used nearly every day for both evil and good. Whether it be deceiving an army in battle or using exaggerations and myths to teach a child right from wrong, deceit allows one to advance his selfish or selfless intentions by providing him a source of influence on others. Such deception—the host’s wife’s dishonesty in particular—is evident throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as it helps to spur the plot of the poem. Lady Bertilak’s purposeful deception of Gawain has questionable motives that highlight the theme of human imperfection and susceptibility to temptation.
Temptation, developed through deception, is a useful tool for challenging and evaluating one’s integrity. Lady
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Also, because yielding to this unqualified claim will inevitably violate Gawain’s moral code, Lady Bertilak’s words cannot be considered innocent or lacking in purpose. This temptation gains the majority of its appeal by challenging Gawain’s reputation and pride, establishing a relatable relationship between Gawain and the audience as almost all individuals prioritize status and self-interest. Because this relationship is made, Gawain’s breach of morals in kissing Lady Bertilak reveals the near universal weakness of pride among the human race. The imperfection of mankind is further demonstrated when Lady Bertilak tempts Gawain with the green girdle. This gift attracts Gawain’s interest as it guarantees his safety, but it also challenges his virtue of honesty because Lady Bertilak “[asks Gawain]... to hide the gift from her husband” (1862-1863). Considering that Gawain’s entire journey has been at the mercy and planning of the magical Morgan le Fay, the enchantment of the green girdle can be assumed to be either false or inconsequential compared to her mystical powers, revealing that the lady’s gift is not genuine but rather another deceptive test of Gawain’s morals—specifically his allegiance to honesty.
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