In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the code of chivalry affects Gawain's actions throughout the story. The code of chivalry that Gawain tries to follow is one of loyalty, courtesy, and courage.
Throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, we see many places where redemption and self-worth are extremely important to the plot. Redemption is the act of failing and falling, but getting back up again, time after time. Gawain fails to meet this in many parts of the story, including bad bets, trying to believe he was faultless, and, most importantly, blaming others for things he himself did. While the act of redemption is very real, Sir Gawain does not showcase this.
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.
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
To be Chivalrous means that a man must stick firmly with christian values that go far beyond the rules of combat. To be that certain type of chivalry, a knight must be honourable, courteous, and brave. This includes not straying from the belief that God will always bless you and help you in your hour of need. While it is true that Sir Gawain does, through most of the story, exhibit that he is a chivalric knight, it towards the end when he shows the most weakness in faith and code. When he takes the “girdle of immunity,” something belonging to the Pagan side, is when he demonstrates that his faith is not as strong as his armour makes him appear.
The lines 1550-1553 from the Pearl poets epic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight epitomizes two of the most important virtues of a noble knight, and Sir Gawain, the man the story follows, defines what is a true knight. He holds a place next to King Arthur and the queen as well as exemplifying two of a knights most important virtues. The first being chastity and the second being courteousness, both however, are very much entwined in this tale. Throughout this epic and many other Arthurian legends praised these traits in the knight and as we shall see, Sir Gawain although still very much human, is a master of both.
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
Throughout his entire journey, Gawain tried to remain courageous and brave. In fact, Gawain demonstrated his bravery when he accepted the challenge that no one else dared to do. Following that he then showed his braveness by cutting off the Green Knights head and keeping his word to return in one year and one day. He even had enough courage to go on a journey by himself rather than having the other knights go along. Although Gawain is seen to be fearful of death because instead of giving away the girdle he kept it in secret so its magical powers would protect him from the Green Knight. Gawain soon learned that his selfishness and fear can ruin his moral
Beginning and ending with references to Troy, the poet of Gawain and the Green Knight, foreshadows the narrative with the paradox of failure being framed as greatness. Starting the poem with a discussion of the fall of Troy, speaks to the destined failure of Gawain and his quest, both literally and figuratively. Ending the poem with a reference to Troy’s greatness, presents the paradox of a fallen city, and with an army that lost the war, but, is still hailed as great.
During the Medieval times chivalry was one of the most important characteristics a knight could display. Chivalry was viewed as a moral obligation that involved bravery, honor, respect, and gallantry. Knights were expected to uphold this code or face social consequences for any infractions, with punishments ranging from humiliation to termination of their knighthood. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” presents the struggles knights faced with honoring the chivalrous code at all times. Sir Gawain, while imperfect, exhibits qualities expected of knights and embodies the internal struggle between honoring the chivalrous code and giving into selfish desires.
Chivalry is the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms. The way Gawain demonstrates chivalric ethos is that he honors the King and shows bravery and humility by accepting the Christmas challenge and not allowing the king to do so. He keeps his word by going to the Green Chapel on the day agreed. He keeps his word by giving the Lord the kisses he gets from his wife. He respectfully refuses the advances of the Lord's wife showing loyalty and respect for ladies. He owns up to his mistake, confesses, and apologizes.
The first Chivalry idea that is seen in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the loyalty of Sir Gawain. Gawain on his way to fight the green knight, stays the night with a lord and his lady. On the first night, while Gawain
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a story that celebrates courage in a positive light in the majority of situations but we see that courage can have a negative impact on some of the characters in the story and it questions knighthood. Courage is an honourable term defined “The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery:” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/courage) and for Gawain to be called this term defines him as a knight. His actions throughout the story makes it difficult to analyse how courage is treated in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. A lot of Gawain’s experiences shape the theme of courage in this story and can make it
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.
He is described as a man, “None had seen...with sight in that hall so grand.” (197) Immediately he asks for the leader of the house to which he extends his request for a contest to King Arthur. The unnamed knight then reveals the rules of the game. Carl Martin, in his essay, The Cipher of Violence, elaborates. “ The Green Knight reveals here that while the typical warrior-noble engineers his aggrandizement through public displays of prowess… he is also bound by a strict code of behavior meant to restrain and refine his aggression.” (312) So too, the knights of the round table and the entire court of Camelot are bound to the same laws of courtesy. They can not demand bloodshed, however, in the guise of a game, it can be desired, even more so, required, for the sake of entertainment. After a few moments, Gawain accepts the challenge in the King’s stead, takes the ax and, “Brought it down deftly upon the bare neck.” (420) This is the moment the court has been waiting for. The instant when courtesy becomes a metaphor for violence. By treating this unnamed knight with all the courtesy they possess, they can now require him to die a noble death at the hands of one of their own, in the sight of all who dare to watch. “The blood gushed from the body, bright on the green/ Yet fell not the fellow, nor faltered a whit. (429 - 430) The Green Knight, though his head is severed from his body, remains alive and requires retribution.