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The Green Girdle In The Green Knight

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The Green Girdle , as it appears in the story , can represent a lot of things , depending on the reader’s comprehension of the text . It can be seen as a symbol of shame , a magic talisman , a gift for courage , temptation , failure or human nature. In the following essay I am going to analyze the characters’ view upon the significance of the girdle and give my opinion regarding the subject . First of all , from Lady Bertilak’s point of view , and in the first phase from Gawain’s perspective also , it represents a magic talisman. 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 . Sidney E. Berger , in "Gawain's Departure from the…show more content…
At the beginning of the story Gawain is described as a great knight and as a courteous man "the man to whom all excellence and valour belongs, / Whose refined manners are everywhere praised" (911-912). The pentangle that can be found on his shield shows his aspiration to become perfect in each of the five senses. But this aspiration seems to be unattainable at the end of the poem when Gawain is portrayed as the imperfect
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