The Role Of Redemption In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

906 Words4 Pages
Since the beginning of time, almost everyone was raised to fear failure. In workplaces, schools, and social groups, failure was stigmatized even though it is unbelievably inevitable. The thing is, failure is the only way to learn and return stronger. Particularly, the importance of redemption is illustrated in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by Simon Armitage and also in the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of redeeming is “serving to offset or compensate for a defect.” Many may claim that someone would never need to “compensate” if they did not have a defect in the first place. When in reality, the only reason why someone cannot fail, is if they do not try. If one does…show more content…
Through the characters in the books of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the audience can see these awesome tales of redemption, and be inspired to learn from their mistakes. In the book by Simon Armitage, the protagonist, Sir Gawain, is viewed to be the perfect knight. However, he is not “perfect.” He took the lady of the houses’ green girdle and did not tell the lord of the manor. Gawain was betraying his word to the lord and also the code of his knighthood. Even though he betrayed the lord in an attempt to save himself, he still showed up to be beheaded, just as he had promised, and took the blow without a flinch. “By confessing your failings you are free from fault and have openly paid penance from the point of my axe” (Armitage 2390-1). Gawain received a scar from where the axe met his skin and used it as a reminder of what he had done and failed to do. The Green Knight held Gawain to a higher respect than ever before because of his willingness to admit his wrongdoing. Sir Gawain’s determination to stick to his word redeemed himself in front of the lord, otherwise it never would have happened. Even when Gawain returns to the Round Table, he passes on the word of his fault and becomes a symbol for all his comrades. Because of Sir Gawain’s mistakes, the knights learned to not fall on the path he had…show more content…
Jean Val Jean was placed in prison for nineteen years to to thievery. He is released from prison bittered and battered and with nothing but a church to welcome him in. Subsequently, he steals from the church and attempts to run away and sell the items he stole. Just how Sir Gawain kept on accepting bargains and games from the lord, Valjean could not escape from thieving. Gawain is seen making deals again when the lord states, “Let’s make a pact… I agree to the terms” (1105-10). Gawain and Valjean both struggle to come away from their sins at first. However, the bishop shows Valjean mercy and lets him away with the stolen goods. "Do not forget, never forget, that you have promised to use this money in becoming an honest man"(Hugo, chapter 12). From that point on, he sweared to change his ways. The journey he took completely re-defined himself. He started a new life and worked his way up to eventually become mayor. This wasn’t just a “rags to riches” story, though. Jean completely changed his outlook on life and became a man of God. He became a greatly respected figure of the town and set an example of kindness, law and order to all he met. Although we find that his crime will never permanently leave him, he redeemed himself for himself. Jean Valjean finally became the man he

More about The Role Of Redemption In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

Open Document