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
The Green Knight applauded Sir Gawain for living up to his end of the bargain. The Green Knight swung twice at Gawain’s neck and the first time Gawain flinched and the second time the Green Knight stopped right before his neck. The third time the Green Knight swings the axe and breaks the skin but doesn't decapitate Gawain. Which led to the Green Knight explaining to Gawain that he is actually the same lord of the castle where Gawain spent his holidays. The first two blows, he claims, were in return for the way Gawain returned the kisses of his wife, following the rules of their game as an honest man should. The third blow, he says, was for Gawain’s failure to return the green girdle to him on the last day. But because Gawain’s failing was only because he wanted to save his life, and not because he's just dishonorable, the Green Knight forgives him. He leaves Gawain with only a scar and a girdle as a reminder of his very human sin. Gawain returns to King Arthur’s court all ashamed and sad that he’s failed a test of honor by withholding the green girdle from Sir Bertilak out of a desire to preserve his own life. He feels like he’s failed in his duty as a knight and let everyone down. Perhaps, more importantly, he’s learned that he’s not perfect and never will be. He explains to the whole court that he plans to wear the girdle forever as a reminder of his failing, because "a man may hide his misdeed, but never erase it, for where once it takes root the stain can never be lifted". But instead of being properly sobered, the whole court laughs at Gawain’s words and agrees that everyone in court will wear a similar girdle for Gawain’s
Many other knights would run but Gawain understands that he has to have courage and must be honest about going to meet the green knight and fulfill his deal. One other virtue of chivalry that Gawain presents is courtesy. Gawain shows courtesy to the ladies of the castle. The pearl poet creates this scene: “His acquaintance they requested, and
Sir Gawain describes the older lady [Morgan the Fay] as “rough and wrinkled” and “awful to see” (85). Gawain does not fully acknowledge her as well as he acknowledges Lady Bertilak. Sir Gawain “saluted the old one, but the pleasanter woman he wrapped in his arms for a courteous kiss and chivalric words” (86). Compassion is defined as sympathy for the misfortunes of others. Sir Gawain does the opposite of compassion. He does not look upon the older women with kindness; instead, he treats her as if she is irrelevant or not as important as Lady Bertilak. As a knight he is to uphold compassion towards all people along with companionship, courtesy, chastity, and charity. Lord Bertilak wants to see if Gawain truly values the code of chivalry. One of the virtues of the code of chivalry is the idea of courtly love. Lady Bertilak tempts him further by saying, “Courtly virtue lining his heart, he’d never have stayed so long with a lady and left her unkissed” (98). To uphold chivalry is to uphold courtly love. Gawain does not want to kiss another man’s wife, but he wants to uphold chivalry which calls him
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). Sir Gawain disrespected the lord whom was housing him when he decided to keep the sash a secret. This decision also contradicted his oath to speak truth at all times because he did not disclose his gift the lord, and therefore indirectly lied to the lord. Sir Gawain fails to uphold the chivalrous code through his prioritization for self-preservation over honoring his commitment to fellow
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). Gawain fails this agreement when he keeps the green girdle given to him by Bertilaks wife as he believes it will save his
In response to the taunting of the Green Knight, Sir Gawain says, "I shied once: no more. You have my word," (272-273). Gawain, like all natural man, shied away once from the Knight's sword as a defensive reflex, but he quickly shakes off any cowardice and announces to the Green Knight that he was caught in a moment of doubt. From there he goes to say that he ultimately is no coward, but rather a noble and courageous knight of the roundtable who is devoted and loyal to King Arthur. He is more than willing and prepared to take what is coming and preserve the honor of his people, as well as his own. 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). Sir Gawain takes knighthood to a deeper level and continues to see his knightly duties and responsibilities as they blatantly are verses getting hot-headed, dramatizing a situation, and uprooting his
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. He is full of humility and loyalty, a virtue that is required to be exemplified by the
Bertilak has one motive, that being to make Sir Gawain no longer look as if he is a Goddess, but as a failure. Lady Bertilak is very successful in deceiving Sir Gawain as part of Bertilak’s plan, leading to Bertilak's main motive being achieved, which is making Sir Gawain feel as if he is not as great as everyone thinks he is, and that really he is just a failure and sinner. At the end of the poem Sir Gawain and the Green knight meet to challenge each other when Bertilak reveals himself as the green knight “Because of our other agreement, in my castle; You kept it faithfully, performed like an honest Man, gave me everything you got. Except that you kissed my wife: I swung For that reason-but you gave me back her kisses” ( Page 128). Bertilak reviles himself, which conveys to Sir Gawain that he had been deceived the whole time, especially when Lady Bertilak acted as if no one would know and that they were completely alone the entire time she wanted to have relations with him. This furthers my argument that Bertilak was very good at using everything he had in order to deceive Sir Gawain, which he was very successful in. Bertilak conveys to Sir Gawain that he knew the entire time Sir Gawain was being deceived, Bertilak believed that no other knight would be able to withstand the temptations of lust; however, Sir
In the Pearl Poet’s Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an epic story emerges to reveal a man’s journey of honor, honesty, valor, and loyalty. Throughout Gawain’s adventures in the poem, he discovers and demonstrates his own chivalric qualities. Although he makes a few mistakes along the way he strives to be an honorable man.
“Sir Gawain and The Green Knight” have a plethora of connections and relations to Christianity all around its story. Some examples could be Arthurian chivalry with the pentangle of Sir Gawain's shield and Mary's face in the middle, the battle between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight which took place inside the chapel of a church, and The Green Knight's decision toward Gawain in showing him mercy. These examples show only few reasons why “Sir Gawain And The Green Knight” have connections and relations towards Christianity.
Gawain was destined to fail from the very beginning, it was an inevitable outcome. Gawain takes King Arthur’s place in the competition with the green knight, chivalry dictates this as the right course of action, a knight must protect and serve the king. Gawain then delivers the blow to the green knight, who then picks up his own head, and remains alive. Gawain fails to kill the green knight and now must face his own death next year. Later, Gawain makes his way to the green chapel to face the green knight. When he visits the Lord Bertilak on his own, Gawain struggles with the Lady and what to do when she invites him to kiss her. 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
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
The selection of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight follows the basic format of the adventure. The author emphasizes communion to show the loyalty and community between King Arthur and his knights. The symbolism behind the relationship between Sir Gawain to humans and the Green Knight to the merciful God further shows the relations of this medieval romance to the Bible.
Sir Gawain and The Green Knight and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are two pieces of British literature that are incredibly interesting and thorough. Women play important roles in both of the texts. Throughout Sir Gawain and The Green Knight there are several important females present. The women being Guinevere for a short period of time, Lady Bertilak, and Morgan Le Fay. Guinevere is presented at the beginning of the text before The Green Knight barges into the castle, and is presented as the standard of beauty. 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