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
Sir Gawain is an extremely humble man, one that is in complete submission to his lord King Arthur in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. While many characters in literature, such as Achilles, are a fireball of rage and testosterone, Sir Gawain is calm, cool, and always in complete control of himself. Gawain is humble as well, describing himself as the “weakest of [King Arthur’s] warriors”, one that is barely fit to sit at the King’s royal table (Armitage: Fitt 1: 734). Sir Gawain, according to Confucius in Analects, would be considered a gentleman, “straight as an arrow” in the noble’s court and on the battlefield (Confucius: Book XV: 15.7). He is extremely courteous, a man of his word, and performs the role of a knight adamantly. While Sir Gawain’s humbleness and self-deprecation is evident throughout the story, it is not justified or reasonable because Gawain is overstating his courtesy to put himself in the limelight.
He shows his loyalty to Arthur at the beginning of the story, when the Green Knight challenges “any in [the] house”(286) to accept his game, everyone remains silent. He goes on to insult and laugh at Arthur and everyone else, which results in Arthur having to accept the challenge and “lay hold of [the Green Knight’s] weapon”(329) in order to defend his pride. Before Arthur can put the axe to use, Gawain asks if the “melee may be [his]”(343), because “[the] folly befits not a king”(359), and modestly claims to be “the weakest…and of wit the feeblest”(355).
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
Would you be able to hold steadfast to your core values and knighthood when faced against a sorcerous Green Knight with an itching to kill? Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, written by the Pearl Poet, is a Medieval Romance tale about a noble knight who puts his life on the line in order to defend his king. Sir Gawain is a prestigious knight who demonstrates passionate integrity and honor as he remains faithful to King Arthur and holds true to the knight's code of chivalry.
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 ideals of Christian morality and knightly qualities are represented by Gawain’s gold, star-shaped pentangle. The five knightly virtues that Sir Gawain expresses are: generosity, chastity, friendship, piety, and courtesy.
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
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
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, whose author is unknown, is an Arthurian Romance/Epic that holds a degree of Christian symbolism. These Christian symbols are intermixed with Britannic Pagan traditions and themes in order to appeal more to the common British people at the time of the early Christianization of Britain. This can be supported by the stories of kings being created in the earlier centuries throughout history. In this particular story, this symbolism is important since all the knights of King Arthur’s Court were supposed to follow a certain chivalrous code of conduct, whether present in the courts or away on some other venture. The chivalric code being the embodiment of Christian virtue and valor, which was expected to be personified
All in all, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight gave many fine examples of classic literature and the beauty of it. However, Gawain tried to redeem himself, but failed miserably. Redemption is achieved by falling and getting back up. Gawain tripped over his own feet, then blamed the girl who didn’t do anything. Gawain cannot teach anyone anything about redemption. Redemption is a thing that exists and many people strive for, but Sir Gawain is not one of those
The opening scene in the story shows the Green Knight disrupting the acts of communion between King Arthur and his knights. These acts of communion symbolize the togetherness, community, and even touch the basis of loyalty, which is supported by the selfless act of Sir Gawain putting his life in danger for his king. The Green Knight’s disrupting the acts of life-giving by, indecently, threatening to take the king’s life in a challenge. “And so all I ask of this court is a Christmas game.”(L. 63). The pauses in-between the Green Knight’s addresses shows how the knights
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 Character who possesses the most courage in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is most definitely Sir Gawain
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, composed by an unknown artist, is a medieval story that follows the tale of a knight who embarks on a journey after being issued a challenge from a mysterious green stranger. During his quest, Sir Gawain, the knight, stays at a castle in the wilderness and is housed by Lord and Lady Bertilak, both of whom test his chivalric code and his Christian ideals. Lady Bertilak is a seductress and tempts Sir Gawain, though he refuses all her advances, with the exception of her kisses. Lord Bertilak is the mysterious green stranger, known as the Green Knight. Once Sir Gawain completed his task, he discovers that Morgan le Faye, a witch scorned by King Arthur, orchestrated the entire challenge in the hopes of causing King
Although Sir Gawain does not want to take the Green Knight’s challenge, he honorable takes the place of King Arthur and lies about his worth. The Green Knight arrives carrying an axe and holly, symbolizing peace and war, but tells them that he “travel[s] in peace and seek[s] no trouble” (12). Despite saying that he wants no trouble, he proposes a game involves one strike with his axe by whoever is brave enough for another done by him a year later. The court is baffled by his request, and when no one speaks up to take the Green Knights challenge, he ridicules them by conveying that “all the pageantry and power of the Round Table made nothing by the words of one man” (13). After the Green Knight finishes mocking the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur boldly takes the challenge until Sir Gawain politely requested to take his place. Sir Gawain, who already had a reputation of “knightly character and courtesy [that were] highly renowned