This Medieval Era Poem

This medieval era poem is set with a theme of not just bravery or heroism, but one of honesty and loyalty even greed and guilt as well. The story starts with our protagonist celebrating. Then along comes the green knight who challenges any one man to a blow.

But you can already detect a sense of trickery because, the Green Knight says he will return one year and one day later to give a blow to his opponent. In which sir gawins brother stands and demands they do the challenge. This is where the sense of bravery comes in to play. So the two duel and sir gawain’s brother takes the head of the green knight and the green knight lives. So very obviously the knight demands that he follow his word and be there one year and one day later.

His brother did not uphold so he demands that sir gawain take his place. After the duel sir gawain spends the time traveling and eventually finds himself in the castle of Lord and Lady Bertilak. A sense of lust is able to be detected because of the situation of the lord’s wife trying to seduce sir gawain. She tries not only once but three times and her advances fail. Just after this he is met with hid feeling of greed and guilt. She gifts him a girdle that is sworn to keep him safe. He wants to remain safe and so he take it out of greed, but he also has guilt because it goes against his code of chivalry. Sir gawain returns the the green chapel and the Green Knight is waiting for him while sharpening a blade. Sir gawain then riddled with guilt offers a trade.

He wanted to trade all of his riches for his life except the girdle that he kept a secret and it fails. The green knight does three blows to Sir Gawain and much like the Green Knight he lives. This is another good sense of bravery and honesty, Sir Gawain stayed true to his word and the outcome was positive. The Green Knight tells sir gawain his name he said his name is Bertilak and tells him that he is the king of the castle where Gawain was at. But because Gawain was not truthful about all of his riches on the third blow Bertilak drew blood. But Gawain has proven himself a true knight.

A sense of honor is detected because he actually proved himself. Bertilak later explains that the old woman at the castle is really Morgan le Faye, Sir Gawain’s aunt and also a witch. She sent the Green Knight on his his mission in the beginning and used her magic to change the Green Knight’s appearance. Excited to be alive but extremely guilty about his failure to tell the truth, Sir Gawain wears the girdle on his arm as a reminder of his own failure. He returns to Arthur’s court where all the knights join Sir Gawain, wearing girdles on their arms to show their support. This is where true chivalry is shown in the story. 

Lengthy Poem Surrounding

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a lengthy poem surrounding well-known King Arthur of Camelot and one of his most noble and loyal knights, Sir Gawain. Throughout the story, the noble knight is traveling to battle the antagonist of the poem, the Green Knight, a being that challenged Sir Gawain to track down and decapitate him. During his journey, he is tempted three times by Lady Bertilak, the wife of the Lord who is granting Sir Gawain shelter in his time of need, and his knightly honor is challenged by this.

Despite being given plenty of opportunities to betray King Arthur and pick the path that would label him as morally corrupt, he remained noble and true to his vows. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written in the late fourteenth century. During this trying time period, the Hundred Years’ War was raging and the Black Plague was finally beginning to come to a halt. This poem covers knightly chivalry and morals. Throughout the story, these two themes are challenged through the temptation of the main character, Sir Gawain. During the late fourteenth century, the Hundred Year’s War was still going on with full force and it didn’t look like there would be a cease-fire any time soon. In addition, the infamous Black Plague was tearing through Europe and destroying morale in society.

However, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight does not spend time on the dirty aspects of society that were extremely hard to swallow during the time period. The author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight decided, instead, to give the people of Britain an escape through literature, has not mentioned the fact that the British society was crumbling. The time period had an incredibly heavy influence on the story because without the absolutely crushing events going on at the time, the motivation behind the author providing an excellent story to give the downtrodden people an escape and a person to look up to in times of extreme grief, such as Sir Gawain, the poem never would have been written in the first place. At the very beginning of the poem, Sir Gawain is at a grand Christmas feast at King Arthur’s court. The author uses imagery to depict how vibrant and red the feast is, providing a stark contrast when the Green Knight walks in and disrupts the monochromatic feast.

The unknown author also uses choice words and phrases to describe the feast as jubilant and suddenly turns to an air of unease when the Green Knight is introduced. Not only did the author use imagery to set the tone of the story, but the author also used plenty of alliteration to emphasize a point. An example of the author’s use of alliteration is And all his vesture verayly watz clene verdure, / Bothe the barres of his belt and other blythe stones. (Sir Gawain, lines 161-162). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a poem filled with symbolism, the main three symbols in the story are the pentangle, the color green, and the green girdle. First, the pentangle is made to be a representation of five virtues: generosity, fellowship, chastity, courtesy, and charity.

The reader is shown what the pentangle is meant to symbolize through these lines: It is a symbol that Solomon designed long ago / As an emblem of fidelity, and justly so; / /Therefore it suits this knight and his shining arms, / For always faithful in five ways, and five times in each case, / Gawain was reputed as virtuous, (Sir Gawain, lines 625-626; 631-633). Next is the color green, a symbol that remains constant throughout the entire story. While the unknown author does not bluntly state the meaning behind the color green, there are plenty of clues within the poem to suggest its hidden meaning. The Green Knight himself is a solid green color and he carries a massive ax in one hand and a holly branch in the other. Both of these items are directly correlated to nature. The holly branch is a piece of nature itself and the ax as a tool to cut down trees.

Another clue is the chapel where the Green Knight is waiting for Sir Gawain. The chapel itself is described as one of the most wild, natural places in the poem (Symbolism: The Color Green, pg 1) thus leading the reader to believe that the color green is meant to represent nature itself. The third and final major use of symbolism in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the green girdle Sir Gawain is given by Lady Bertilak. Unlike the symbol of the color green, the green girdle is a symbol that is much easier to understand and point out to the average reader. The girdle also is a symbol for many different things, the meaning behind it simply depends on the situation it is used in. When Lady Bertilak gives the green girdle to Sir Gawain, it is intended as a lover’s keepsake and something to remember her by. She also states that the girdle has the ability to make the person wearing it indestructible. When she mentions that, the green girdle’s meaning shifts from a lover’s token to survival.

Then, when Sir Gawain fails to give the girdle to King Bertilak as a part of their agreement, the meaning moves towards desperate desire to survive at the expense of his code of honor (Symbolism: The Green Girdle, pg 1). The story of Sir Gawain was a genuinely enjoyable experience, some older literature can be a difficult read but this poem is an exception. The extraordinary imagery used throughout the tale completely captured me and allowed me to get enthralled in the plot. It was incredibly frustrating when Sir Gawain was constantly being tempted by Lady Bertilak. This was aggravating because, as a reader, I wanted Sir Gawain to succeed in his journey and Lady Bertilak left a bad taste in my mouth because she could get in the way of his ultimate goal. Overall, once Sir Gawain came to the end of his journey and it was revealed that the Green Knight had played somewhat of a trick on him by being the orchestrator of the state of affairs with Lord and Lady Bertilak, I was absolutely shocked.

However, I must admit that in hindsight, I, and any other reader, should have taken into consideration that the girdle presented by Lady Bertilak was green, a symbol for the Green Knight himself. The story as a whole was truly a fantastic and the unknown author did an amazing job at keeping the readers on the edge of their seats. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight begins with the grand Christmas feast, which immediately establishes a vibrant aesthetic. The hall is decorated to be nearly completely red, tying in with traditional Christmas colors of course. However, the Christmas feast is not the only example of a beautiful aesthetic. The author describes Sir Gawain’s armor in great detail. Then, the author goes on to talk about the pentangle on Sir Gawain’s shield and how it is supposed to represent five holy virtues. Another form of imagery the author uses is the changing of seasons throughout the text. The seasons drive the plot and Sir Gawain’s journey and are mostly described by the changing of the leaves around Sir Gawain. A great example of this is when Sir Gawain is searching for the Green Knight. During this time, it the middle of the winter. At this point, Sir Gawain is getting worn, then he notices a green field. This is where the author uses imagery to bring in the supernatural force of the story. Otherwise, it would not make any sense whatsoever that there would be a lush green field in the middle of winter.

The sudden appearance of a summery scene is to entice Sir Gawain in a sense, it is trying to make the reader and Sir Gawain feel like the castle is a safe haven. This ends up being a test by the supernatural force, the Green Knight, further proving that the appearance of seasons throughout the story drive Sir Gawain’s journey. Next, the author uses language to bring life and beauty into the piece of writing. The intentions behind why the author chose to write this story are unknown, but there are key factors in the time period and the poem itself that detail how it could have been so impactful at the time it was written.

In the late fourteenth century, a war was raging and the black death was claiming the lives of an unimaginable number of people. Due to these two major facts about the time period, the people needed something to escape to. Reading about war and death was unappealing to them because they were living in that hell every single day. It can be assumed that the author chose to write a story surrounding chivalry and true honor because that’s what the people of the time needed to see most of all. Sir Gawain showed the public that it is desirable to be so honorable and noble, something that the people didn’t see much of at the time.

However, the author also showed a somewhat softer side to Sir Gawain that could relate with the everyday person, he feared death just as much as any normal human being would fear such a fate. This showed the readers that Sir Gawain was human and even though he was the poster child for being noble and chivalrous, he still feared the inevitable. Not only did Sir Gawain and the Green Knight have an impact on readers at the time, but its religious themes have held true. Around the world, Christianity is practiced. The author at the time most definitely had different values and practiced religion in a vastly different way but people now are still majorly impacted by Christianity. This poem was simply a contribution to push Christianity forward as an attempt to express the author’s own values and morals but as an attempt to keep Christianity at the forefront of society. The author most certainly accomplished that feat, and it is evident through the fact that millions of people continue to practice Christianity and uphold the same values to this day.

The Value of Hunting in Sir Gawain

Contents

  • 1 The Value of Hunting in Sir Gawain
    • 1.1 Works Cited

The Value of Hunting in Sir Gawain

Readers of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight develop a first impression of Sir Gawain as an almost unhuman like perfection of a Knight. Sir Gawain bravely takes on the challenge of the Beheading Game, in order to protect his King, and announces why he should be the one to accept this challenge and modestly puts that he has the most to prove. Sir Gawain’s modesty and chivalry displays Sir Gawain’s perceived perfection, and at the beginning of the story, it seems that Sir Gawain is a character of a different kind of world.

Lady Bertilak is a pawn in a game designed to test King Arthur’s court, and as she approaches Sir Gawain, the reader discovers a parallel between Lord Bertilak’s hunt and Lady Bertilak’s quest for discovering Sir Gawain’s humanity through the use of the deer, the boar, and the fox.

Lady Bertilak is an accurate symbol for the daily temptations that Sir Gawain faces and that many face in the real world. Sir Gawain had sworn his loyalty to Lord Bertilak, and Lady Bertilak’s appearance, beautiful and well dressed, provides the perfect temptation to test Sir Gawain’s faithfulness and chivalry (Goldhurst, p. 63). Lady Bertilak has a major role in the story of Sir Gawain, and is in large part, responsible for his breaking of the Chivalric Code. She is the wife to Lord Bertilak and is a key part in the deal that Sir Gawain and Lord Bertilak made to split their winnings.

Lord Bertilak was to hunt and then give whatever he obtained to Sir Gawain, and in return, Sir Gawain was to stay in the castle and give Lord Bertilak whatever he won. This game presented the perfect opportunity to truly test Sir Gawain’s manners. As Lord Bertilak left to go hunt, Lady Bertilak began a hunt for Sir Gawain. Every hunt was written with great detail, and drew a parallel to the approach Lady Bertilak took in tempting Sir Gawain. Lady Bertilak’s first two attempts at temptation failed and seemed to confirm the reader’s predisposition about Sir Gawain’s perfection, but with her third attempt, she presented him with protection of the green girdle, which he could not refuse.

Lady Bertilak’s first attempt to tempt Sir Gawain was paired with the story of the deer hunt. The pairing of the deer hunt and the pursuit of Sir Gawain is valuable to the story in proving to the reader Sir Gawain’s trustworthiness. Sir Gawain was unexpecting and ignorant of the events that were about to happen, much like the deer was when Lord Bertilak killed it. Sir Gawain is most similar to the deer in the manner in the sense that he is noble game (Savage, p. 5).

The stag, or deer, is noble because it is cautious and can distinguish between right and wrong, as it’s only weapons are a distinct hearing, a sharp mind, and quick legs to escape danger (Savage, p. 9). In this moment, Sir Gawain behaves in a way that is both careful and quick minded, developing the first similarity between the deer’s behavior and the knight’s. The dogs drove the deer into awaiting archers, trapping them with the only escape being death. As Lady Bertilak approached Sir Gawain, she was reasonably noisy, and told him, You’re tricked and trapped! (Anonymous, p. 163). This line shows that, like the deer, Sir Gawain’s innocent and timid approach caused him to be trapped. Sir Gawain remained shy and timid during Lady Bertilak’s first attempt to pursue him, much like the deer was timid and attempted to escape the hunter’s approach (Pedrosa, p. 72). Sir Gawain pretends to stay asleep and stays put as long as possible to avoid this confrontation and does not move until he was forced, just like the deer. Lady Bertilak, the metaphorical hunter, was the most aggressive during the first approach because of Sir Gawain’s reserved and scared manner (Pedrosa, p. 73).

Lord Bertilak, the actual hunter in the story, was also aggressive during his first hunt by driving the deer out. The importance of the two hunter’s aggressiveness was to emphasize the innocence and shyness that the deer and Sir Gawain display. Sir Gawain stayed loyal to his word, even though he was being aggressively approached. The comparison between Sir Gawain and the game gives the reader a further idea into Sir Gawain’s value by displaying that, like the deer Sir Gawain, was noble game worthy of the King (Savage, p. 5). Sir Gawain’s innocence and his actions reaffirmed the reader’s predetermined belief that Sir Gawain was, in fact, perfect, as he did not break his honor. As the story progressed, Sir Gawain gained confidence, which makes the boar a perfect embodiment of Sir Gawain’s reconfirmed strength.

Sir Gawain and Lord Bertilak agreed to renew their deal, but this time, the hunt was not for an innocent deer, but for a ferocious boar which was well aware of its surroundings. Upon Lady Bertilak’s second approach, Sir Gawain, like the boar, responded aggressively knowing the danger he was in. As Lady Bertilak entered Sir Gawain’s chambers for the second time, Sir Gawain awoke quickly and this time he, Makes her welcome at once (Anonymous, p. 167).

It is clear from this action Sir Gawain has changed his tactics when it comes to Lady Bertilak. While in the original scene he stayed put until driven out, this time he defended himself before he was trapped into danger. He does not act ignorant upon the second approach by Lady Bertilak, and in fact shows her that he is very aware of her presence (Savage, p. 11). Likewise, the boar does not take shelter or hide from the men, but pursues them. Another obvious similarity between Sir Gawain and this ferocious pig is their history. Sir Gawain has refused Lady Bertilak in the past, making him a fearsome and difficult opponent. The author goes into a brief history of the boar, explaining that the boar has wreaked havoc on the men and their hounds (Anonymous, p. 168). The necessity in examining the past of the boar and Sir Gawain is that they both proved to be difficult opponents. While the past encounter with Sir Gawain was not aggressive, Sir Gawain had come out victorious, as did the boar in the previous encounters Lord Bertilak had with him. The boar takes action when his life is threatened and when Lord Bertilak trespasses and gets too close; he does not take kindly.

The boar is willing to defend himself by fighting his way out rather than staying put. The benefit that the boar carries over the stag is its tusks and muscular body. Therefore, the boar is well equipped for trespassers (Savage, p. 13). Similarly, Sir Gawain does not stay grounded when he is encroached upon; he rises and greets the trespasser. The author shows that Sir Gawain is also well equipped with confidence and knowledge of the events that are about to transpire. The necessity in the pairing of Sir Gawain and the boar is simply to highlight Sir Gawain’s newfound confidence. As seen with the pairing of the deer, Sir Gawain was timid originally and attempted to avoid confrontation. When he was paired with the boar, the reader can see that the boar’s aggressive behavior and confidence in its abilities, reflects Sir Gawain’s own.

The fox’s reputation of being a sneaky creature makes it the perfect candidate to symbolize Sir Gawain’s nearly fatal fall into the open arms of temptation. The passage with the fox becomes the moment where the reader finally discovers that Sir Gawain is not perfect, and that his humanity is actually the reason he allowed himself to be tempted. The first thing to note is that Sir Gawain rejected the original temptation, which was lust. In the final scene, Lady Bertilak tempted Sir Gawain with survival, rather than lust, a completely new form of temptation (Waldron, pp. 17). Sir Gawain’s innocent and aggressive approaches to temptation proved successful; however, the moment that he was tempted with survival, he failed. We see his humanity through his urge to survive (Waldron, p. 17). The fox responds to Lord Bertilak’s hunts in the same way that Sir Gawain does to Lady Bertilak’s final temptation approach (Savage, p. 6). Lord Bertilak was close enough to the fox that he was able to swing at it with a sword, He bares his bright sword and swishes at the beast, which shirks from its sharpness (Anonymous, p. 176).

The importance of this line is the visual imagery and symbolism that this line bears. This line describes Lord Bertilak’s swift motion toward the fox, and the fox’s quick reflexes to escape the blade. The symbolism develops when the fox’s maneuver forced him into the teeth of the hounds (Savage, p. 6). The temptation of the ring did not persuade Sir Gawain, however, the protective girdle changed the noble Knight into a sinner. The irony and comparison truly develops when the reason behind Sir Gawain’s sin is analyzed: He wanted to save his life. Sir Gawain took the green girdle to dodge the blade of the Green Knight’s axe. Similarly, the fox dodged Lord Bertilak’s sword in an attempt to save his life, however, both Sir Gawain and the fox ended up causing themselves more harm after their attempt to swerve danger (Savage, p. 6). Both of these movements developed out of pure adrenaline and the natural instinct to take any opportunity to avoid harm (Savage, p. 6). Lady Bertilak was able to provide enough temptation to appeal to Sir Gawain’s natural instinct. These animals are creations of nature. Therefore by pairing every story and action that Sir Gawain takes with an animal which represent that action, the author reveals a new point about nature.

The author also displays the reactions to the animals that Lord Bertilak had slain, in order to better show the value of the animals. After the deer hunt and boar hunt there was a large celebration, while after the fox hunt there was no celebration, just the exchanging of the pelt (Pedrosa, p. 72). The reactions to the killings correlate perfectly with the reaction to Sir Gawain. The deer and the boar were praised for their contents and were celebrated for what they were giving to the members of the castle. However, the fox was greeted with disappointment for it was not worth much, which can run parallel to the disappointing reaction that the reader’s have to Sir Gawain’s actions (Pedrosa, p. 72). Following the deer hunt, Lord Bertilak called all the servants and the women into the dining hall so, The venison be revealed in full view (Anonymous, p. 166). Lord Bertilak praised the size of the kill and was so proud of what it was worth that he called his entire staff to view it. This shows how large-scale their celebration truly was and emphasizes how valuable the deer really was to them. This correlates with the reader’s reaction to Sir Gawain’s faithfulness.

Likewise, when he kills the boar, he announces it in front of everyone, and tells his story about defeating the beast. The reader, once again, shares this joyful reaction to Sir Gawain’s loyalty. Finally, the reaction to the fox was not joyful at all. In fact, it was a reaction of disappointment. When referencing his return gift of the fox pelt for Sir Gawain’s passionate kisses, Lord Bertilak announces, Mine’s a miserable match (Anonymous, p. 177). This announcement displays just how much disappointment Lord Bertilak had in the fox pelt. When Sir Gawain took the green girdle, the readers felt the same sense of emotion in his actions. The inclusion of the detailed reactions of the characters in the story to the animals, truly displays the natural reactions that viewers of this story have.
Lord Bertilak’s detailed hunts in the story, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are matched with the detailed approaches of Lady Bertilak upon Sir Gawain. These stories help to develop the realization that Sir Gawain is in fact, human. The author does this through placing Lord Bertilak’s hunts and Lady Bertilak’s hunts parallel to each other. The author also uses the character’s reactions to the killings to express similar reactions that readers have to Sir Gawain’s actions. The author portrays these specific elements by using the hunting scenes of the deer, boar, and fox, and the reactions to them.

Works Cited

Anonymous.Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Norton Anthology: English Literature: The Major Authors, Edited by Stephen Greenblatt, Norton, 2013, pp. 135-188, 2 vols.
Goldhurst, William. The Green and the Gold: The Major Theme of Gawain and The Green Knight. College English, vol.20, No. 2, Nov. 1958, pp.61-65. JSTOR www.jstor.org/stable/372161 Accessed, Nov. 12th, 2018.
Pedrosa, Antonio Vicente Casas. Symbolic Numbers and Their Functions In Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. Universidad De Las Palmas De Gran Canaria, 2006, acceda.ulpgc.es:8443/xmlui/bitstream/10553/6418/1/0234349_00012_0004.pdf. Accessed Nov. 12th, 2018.
Savage, Henry L. The Significance of the Hunting Scenes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, vol. 27, no. 1, 1928, pp. 115. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27703094.
Waldron, R. A. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Google Books, Northwestern University Press, 1970,
https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=99-SAHCAMmoC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=sir+gawain+and+the+green+knight&ots=prp2sWNSM9&sig=loGGJj50zm3ZMaqLt1Mpi8AWD8Q#v=onepage&q=sir%20gawain%20and%20the%20green%20knight&f=false. Accessed, Oct. 8th, 2018

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The epic poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, written by an adept, anonymous author in the mid to late fourteenth century, is a classic amongst the literary world. It is a story that resides in a medieval setting and procures the classic subject matter of good and evil. The poem contains several themes and motifs, such as man and the natural world, principles, rule and order, tradition and customs, as well as respect and reputation, which are key to making the epic poem a literary work of art.

In this essay, the topics of the origins of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight will be discussed, along with how the themes were utilized throughout the story.

The author of the epic poem remains unknown, but translator, Burton Raffel, believes that he or she was either an aristocrat or someone who was intimately familiar with the way of aristocracy and knew about the French and French customs. The poem was originally written in Middle English, which was prevalent between 1150 and 1475 a.d., it is estimated from evidence of events and lifestyle that the poem was composed between 1350 and 1400 a.d. Many literary intellects believes that the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight composed a poem that truly captured a clear vision of the realm of knights for modern generations.

As discussed in the introduction to this essay, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is comprised of different themes and motifs. Each of these themes play a vital role in the complexity of the epic poem. For example, good vs. evil is displayed very early within the poem when the Green Knight first appears (Part 1, lines 237- 249) because once he appears upon the scene the atmosphere drastically changes, moving from one of exultation to one of apprehension.

Another example of the themes used within the poem is when the theme of traditions and customs is made palpable at the end of the poem. “The King comforted his nephew and claimed that henceforth all knights and ladies of the Round Table would wear silk girdles of green for the sake of Sir Gawain. So it was declared by Arthur, and so it was done forevermore.” (Part IV. Lines 2475- 2476). This is an example of traditions and customs because wearing the silk girdles is now something that the people of the Round Table would do in order to honor Sir Gawain for centuries to come.

In final thought, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a classic literary work that is credited with possessing several forms of lessons, motifs, and themes that could still be learned from today just as it was 500 years ago. 

Movie Game Night

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the movie Game Night have a lot of unique connections that deal with the plot and the role of free will. In both of these stories, the characters experience similar journeys that involve a game and the real world. The characters are all unaware of reality and they must undergo difficult trials to reach one goal.

The problems that are designed to test their knowledge cause them to act on free will and they have to carefully think about their own actions. Even though they are oblivious to the truth, their decisions are extremely important because it will have a major effect on them later. The characters are greatly impacted by their choices and the role of free will plays a big part in these two texts.

Sir Gawain and the friend group in Game Night do not realize what is actually happening and they do not notice that they are continuously being tricked by the people around them. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain expects to continue the Christmas game once he reaches the Green Chapel; however, he is unknowingly playing the game during his visit at the Lord’s castle. When he met up with the Green Knight, the knight revealed to him that his real name is Lord Bertilak de Hautdesert and that Gawain’s stay at the castle was a trial to test his virtues. Lord Bertilak de Hautdesert, who is disguised as the Green Knight, informs Gawain that it was he who arranged it [himself] and [he sent his wife] to test [him] (296). Gawain then learns that the contract he had with the Lord was meant to reveal his true qualities and their exchanges represented his interaction with the Green Knight. Like Sir Gawain, the characters in Game Night went through a similar experience.

The main characters, Max and Annie, host weekly game nights with their friends Ryan, Michelle, and Kevin. Max’s brother, Brooks, decides that he will host game night when he comes to visit, and planned for the them to participate in a murder mystery game. Brooks explains that they will not know what’s real and what’s fake (Game Night). Unfortunately for Brooks, he is kidnapped by real criminals and no one helps him because they think it is all part of the game that he set up. Throughout the night, they discover that Brooks is actually involved in a dangerous crime and they have to go through difficult tasks to save him. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Game Night both consists of the reversal of a game and actual events, and how the characters are completely blindsided by the truth.

The role of free will is particularly important in these two texts. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain gets to choose his actions and what he got to do for himself as he was on his way to fight the Green Knight. Initially, King Arthur was the one who was supposed to play the Christmas game, but Gawain stepped in because he thought his death would be least loss (246). Gawain volunteered himself to play the dangerous game because he wants to protect the honor of his uncle, King Arthur, and his court. He also chooses to accept the Lord’s agreement in exchanging what he has acquired in the castle to the Lord’s hunting prey for three days. The Lord’s wife, Lady Bertilak, decides to give him a kiss on the first day of the contract and she proceeds to do so on the second and third day. Each day, Gawain exchanged the kisses from Lady Bertilak as the Lord gives him his hunting prey in return.

On the final day, however, she also gives Gawain the green girdle as he leaves the castle to go to the Green Chapel and compete with the Green Knight. Gawain chooses not to give the Lord the green girdle because Lady Bertilak convinced him that it had the power of survival. Gawain thought that the girdle was a godsend for the hazard he must face when he reached the chapel to receive his deserts (283), so he did not return it. He did not trade the girdle because he wanted to live when he went up against the Green Knight, which resulted in the Green Knight to choose to spare Gawain’s life. The role of free will affected Gawain because his actions were responsible for his future, even though he did not know the circumstance.

The characters in Game Night also had the ability to act on free will. They all choose to participate in the murder mystery game because they are highly competitive, which causes them to do anything to win. When they discover that Brooks has actually been kidnapped by real felons, and they go on a long adventure that involves tough challenges to save him. Max assumes that he will go through this mission by himself because he thinks that it’s up to [him] to fix it (Game Night) since he is Brooks’ brother, but everyone decides that he will not go through it alone. No matter how dangerous the situations are, they still continue to risk their lives to save Brooks, placing themselves deeper into crime. They crash a top secret party that is filled with the richest people in the world in attempt to retrieve a jeweled egg that Brooks stole from a criminal. Annie knows that Brooks’ captor wants the egg and the only way to save [Brooks] is to get that egg from[Marlon Freeman] (Game Night), the man who the egg was sold to.

They also choose to get involved in many car chases, fights, and shootings in order to rescue Brooks from the threatening criminals. They all actively work together to figure out how to escape from crime and to think of clever ways to get Brooks back to safety. The way Max and his friends react to these obstacles will determine whether or not Brooks survives.

The unique situation in these texts about the reversal of a game and the real world causes the characters to act on free will. Because of their unfamiliarity with the truth, the decisions they make do not reflect what will actually happen since the truth is kept a secret from them. The role of free will creates a connection between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Game Night because each character unexpectedly made decisions that will end up affecting them in their future.

Analyze Over The Poem

In the poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, you read it to be a story that has action, adventure and lust. While reading the poem we gather that Sir Gawain has a reputation that precedes him in a way with the ladies and in many cases he does try to live up to the people’s expectations.

While we analyze over the poem, some may have a hard time understanding the entertainment and the pure entertainment of Sir Gawain. However, once you start reading the poem and ready what the lines mean, you discover what an adventure it is.

I normally do not like poems, but after learning what each stanza meant it was interesting. So hold on and I’ll give you a few details about Sir Gawain, and the Green Knight that will make the story entertaining and enjoyable.

In the lines: Here a strand of the hair, here one of gold;His tail and his foretop twin in their hue,And bound both with a band of a bright green,That was decked adown the dock with dazzling stones,And tied tight at the top with a triple knot (190). Is a real deep sense of how the Green Knight is perceived, as a man whom women swoon over.

Many people would think that the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a valor romance. However, unlike romance novels today, the medieval ones were filled with defining moments of rare chivalry.The medieval romances went on quest to show their love or worth. When these knights would return they would have tales of their travels. The tales were adventurous and the quest always had unexpected twist and turns.

In the lines: And laid his head low again in likeness of sleep; And she stepped stealthily, and stole to his bed, Cast aside the curtain and came within, And set herself softly on the bedside there, And lingered at her leisure, to look on his waking. (1190) we read where Lady Bertilak is trying to seduce Gawain.

This is another romantic aspect of the poem, where the Green Knight and Lord Bertilak. Sir Gawain endangers his manhood by accepting her proposal. Also, one extremely important part is when Lady Bertilak gives away her girdle to Sir Gawain. This is Lady Bertilak confidence in herself and her superior attitude which was not something women in that time had.

In conclusion this poem supports three elements in a medieval romance of quest, bravery and chivalry. In the end Sir Gawain knows that he was weak during his quest and did not uphold chivalry nor braver. 

Befriends King Arthur

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written between 1350 and 1400 AD by an anonymous author. In this timeless epic poem, the main character, Sir Gawain, after accepting the challenge of an ominous Green Knight, must travel through Wales to confront him a year later. While on his journey he encounters a castle where he lodges and befriends King Arthur. Throughout this story the author conveys the theme of honesty multiple times.

At the beginning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Green Knight compliments Gawain’s’ honesty saying, “By God, Sir Gawain, I’m glad to have what I wanted at your hands. You’ve spoken our bargain beautifully, and spoken it fair.” This goes to show that the Green Knight, though the antagonist or “bad guy”, still shows Gawain a great deal of respect for his candor. The next example of honesty between our protagonist and his foil occurs in lines 398-403. At this point of the story, Sir Gawain tells the Green Giant that he is an “honest man” and will meet him next New Years as said the deal.

The Giant in return voices his trust in Gawain, again showing the general sense of respect and honesty the men have for each other. While journeying to the green chapel, Gawair is very aware that he may die, but in determination to keep his word he travels on. Gawain then voices his feelings and present dangers to the host of the castle at which he lodges in line 1059-1067, saying, “for He and I have agreed to meet; Made a solemn exchange of vows, and I am to come there, if I can, By New Years morning, which is almost here… I’d rather be dead than fail.”

Sir Gawain’s total lack of self preservation due only to the fact that he made a “vow” shows that Gawain is truly the honest man he is made out to be. Throughout this poem the theme of honesty prevails. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight respect and trust in each other, although seemingly being opposites, is a refreshing concept not seem often in literature, or rather in life in general. Just think of the world if everyone were as honest as Gawain, and as trusting as the Green Knight.         

One Of The Major Themes

One of the major themes of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is Chivalry, this can be seen many, many times throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. King Arthur’s court is built around a chivalrous code where bravery and courtesy are incredibly important to one’s entire character, while cowardliness is viewed as the lowest thing. The green knight’s challenge is not just a challenging him alone it is also challenging Arthurs entire court and its code of chivalry.

Gawain after accepting the Green Knight’s game from the Green Knight has to go out and find the Green Knight somewhere out in Britain although he is never given a location. While out on his quest for the Green Chaple where he is to meet his fate he has to pass through many challenges that test the chivalry of Gawain and the Knights of the round table. However, Gawain shows that the Knights do not perfectly follow their code of chivalry as he breaks it multiple times during his quest for the Green Chaple. He fails when he does not comply with the rules of the game with Sir Bircilak and hides the green girdle for his fear of death. It’s revealed through Gawain’s tests on his quest that the rules of chivalry are impossible, no man could fully comply with these words no matter how perfect the knight.

One instance of them being impossible is when Gawain hide the green girdle from Bircilak out of fear for his life, but no man can truly overcome this fear. Once arriving at the Green Chaple Gawain expects to meet his end at the hands of the Green Knight but is rather left with only a mere nick on the neck to forever remind the Court that the Knights too are not perfect and they all even adopt a green sash in order to remember the lesson Gawain had learned out on his quest. Therefore Chivalry is one of the main themes of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as it makes it’s appearance again and again throughout the poem.

Another theme of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the theme of reputation, it appears multiple times throughout the poem, at the beginning Gawain takes the place of King Arthur and offers his life for him. This completely changes the others view of him, he is now seen by them as a brave and a true knight which he was not before. This also goes to show how much the characters in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight care for there reputation, Gawain was willing to give his life in order to show himself as a true knight to the others. But because he presented himself this way this makes him unable to show his true colors, he would not tell the other knights he was in fear of losing his left and in fact did not want to die, going against the code.

He attempts to be like Camelot and to do that he has to hide his real self or else be discovered. Arthur’s court is a hierarchy in which fame and reputation are the cornerstones, the more you have of these two things that more respected and valued you are in his court. When Gawain goes to finally face the Green Knight the nick on the neck and the green sash also shows his imperfections in his reputation as well.

The final theme I identified in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was the theme of Christianity. This theme is also scattered throughout the poem one of the most immediate instances of it was the chivalric code King Arthurs court follows is found in Christianity. When Gawain goes to meet the Green Knight he does not meet him at abuilding, or castle, or anything of the sort but rather a chapel, the chapel is in relation to Christianity.

In the Christian faith, people are supposed to go in occasionally for confession and confess there sins to the priest in order to ask the Lord for forgiveness, Gawain meeting the Green Knight is like a confession, he is paying for all his sins like concealing the green girdle from the lord. A final example of this would be when Gawain is in the forest lost and running out of time to find the chapel so he prays to God and asks for help to find the place.

The Humanity of Sir Gawain

Contents

  • 1 The Humanity of Sir Gawain
  • 2 Works Cited

The Humanity of Sir Gawain

Readers of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight develop a first impression of Sir Gawain as an almost unhuman like perfection of a Knight. At the beginning of the story it seems that Sir Gawain is a character of a different kind of world. It is not until later that it is apparent that even those who seem to be inconceivably perfect have the ability to fall short to sin.

Through the use of symbolism the author was able to display the natural tendency of the ordinary person to fall into the trap of sin, which also correlates with the the theme of nature in this story. The author used symmetry to give examples of symbolism in this story, which are: Lady Bertilak, the colors green and gold (predominantly displayed by the green girdle), and red, and the pentangle which is a symbol for Sir Gawain himself.

Lady Bertilak is an accurate symbol for the daily temptations that Sir Gawain faces and that many face in the real world. Her importance in this role of temptation becomes apparent from the moment that the audience first witnesses her beauty and flashy apparel (Goldhurst, 63). She is the center of the scheme put together by Morgan Lefay and King Bertilak to test the true chivalry and bravery of King Arthur’s court. The initial test is a test of Sir Gawain’s innocence and desire to appease those he is under. Lady Bertilak uses her body and her obvious beauty as a temptation for Sir Gawain to sin against his word. This initial test is where the audience sees the symmetry that draws a parallel between the events in the story and their metaphorical effect on Sir Gawain. Like the deer Lord Bertilak was hunting, Lady Bertilak approached innocent Gawain in the same manner.

The next animal was a Boar, which is parallel to the new strength Sir Gawain found. Finally, a fox, which was parallel to Sir Gawain’s belief that he had out -witted Lord Bertilak, when he accepted the sash from Lady Bertilak. After the boar hunt and deer hunt there was a large celebration, which could go to explain the reaction of rejecting temptation, however there was no celebration after the killing of the fox (Pedrosa, p. 72). The reaction to the fox hunt could serve as a parallel to the reaction that readers have to Sir Gawain’s fall to temptation (Pedrosa, p. 72).

There were three attempts at temptation and only one had success. Regardless of the new found strength that Sir Gawain had he still fell down at the feet of temptation. The scene where he took the sash was not a scene of disgrace, but a scene of humanization (Goldhurst, 63). This scene can be classified as humanization because of Sir Gawain’s reasoning for accepting the gift: He wanted to survive the Green Knight’s game. Lady Bertilak was able to provide Sir Gawain with enough temptation to make him obey his humanistic instinct of taking the sash for the possibility of his survival (Goldhurst, 63). Lady Bertilak is the human embodiment of temptation, which personalizes the portrayal of temptation’s effect on humanity.

The colors in this story are the most discussed element and the recurring symbol seen consistently through Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The three primary colors in this story are green, red, and gold, which serve to explain human tendencies through a different perspective. The red eyes of the Green Knight are only seen a few times, but they stand out as the only non-green element on the Green Knight’s body. The red seems to portray a sort of evil, bloody, and violent character, which causes fear when he enters King Arthur’s court. Monsters are often portrayed with blood red eyes and green scaly skin, which characterized just how scary the Green Knight was (Karim, 1). This characterization of the Green Knight’s intimidating appearance and Sir Gawain’s determination to face him goes another step in explaining how brave and chivalric Sir Gawain is.

The color green is an obvious candidate for symbolism as it is first highlighted in the title. One parallel that can be drawn is between this color and it’s symbolic relationship with nature. The author seems to be using the color green as a representative of nature, as seen in the lines that read, All the evergreens the greenest ever, and grass-green or greener still (Anonymous, 142). These two phrases are both comparing the Green Knight’s color and horse’s color to natural elements, exposing the idea that this green color may symbolize the brutality and fierceness of nature. One major theme to be notified by a reader is the idea that the Green Knight who, Is nature, portrays Nature’s efforts to display itself, in almost any circumstance (Goldhurst, 61).

The author’s description of Sir Gawain’s quest to get to the Green Castle is particularly noteworthy because of the detailed depictions of the natural challenges Sir Gawain faced. This depiction involves the brutality and relentlessness of nature (Ganim, 381). The author also separates nature’s force from the force of temptation and fear that are natural human qualities (Ganim, 381). Before the Green Knight walked into King Arthur’s court, there was only civilization and order within a sheltered castle. As soon as this mass of green arrived to disrupt the peace the scene moved from one of civilization to one of a primitive atmosphere (Ganim, 380). The naturality of Sir Gawain’s situation explains the very reason he eventually succumbs to temptation. However, there is more evidence to what green represents than the completely green coloring of the Green Knight.

The green girdle portrays natural ideas of temptation, instinct, and sin, with the gold trim on it representing civilization, and furthers the development of the use of these colors (green and gold) throughout the story. The green girdle was the only temptation that Sir Gawain took, ignoring his chivalric actions. It was not the shiny gold rim of the girdle, but the green of it, the lush, natural green color, that caused Sir Gawain to take it (Goldhurst, 64).

This natural temptation caused a noble Knight to bow to temptation’s feet, for no other reason But to save himself (Anonymous, 175). The green of the girdle gave Sir Gawain a glimmer of hope and was attractive enough for him to accept the gift. He was not attracted so much to the gold as he was the green color because he made the natural implication that this green garnet would save him from the game the Green Knight wanted to finish. In the story, Sir Gawain refused a ring and even refused the girdle at first until Lady Bertilak announces that as long as he wears it around his waist he will, Be safe against anyone who seeks to strike him (Anonymous, 175). This statement shows the effect that nature had on the decision for Sir Gawain to accept the girdle because it was not until he believed that this piece of clothing would save him that he actually took it. The inborn and natural need to survive caused Sir Gawain to forget his chivalric teachings. The green girdle not only represents natural instincts and sin, but the battle between nature and civilized ideas that people have created (Ganim, 380).

The two lines, Our man bore the belt not merely for its beauty/ or the gleam of its edges which glimmered with gold (Anonymous, 178/ 179), explain this idea of the flashy gold representing civilization, and the green representing the naturalistic ideas that oppose civilization (Goldhurst, 65). Sir Gawain took it not because of its flashy golden outline, but because it reminded him of his opponent. Sir Gawain ignored his values that had been instilled in him, like he ignored the gold, and upholded the more natural value of humanity represented by the green. In the final scene with the Green Knight, the Green Knight announced that it was all his plan, and commended Sir Gawain’s almost perfect Chivalric actions. The Green Knight noticed that Sir Gawain obeyed his instinct and because of his humanistic flaw, the Green Knight said, You loved your own life; so I blame you less (Anonymous, 185). All of these ideas involving the green girdle displaying nature’s influence on temptation and the inborn flaw that keeps humanity away from perfection. The Green Knight recognized Sir Gawain’s reason for his dishonesty and sin, and therefore only nicked his neck.

The green girdle’s meaning changed toward the end of the poem. It can be argued that the green girdle was a symbol of sin from the moment that Sir Gawain accepted the gift. The girdle was handed to Sir Gawain the moment that he chose survival over his honor. When Sir Gawain wrapped the belt around his waist for the first time the author made note that this particular color suited Sir Gawain and, Went well with the rich red weaves that he wore (Anonymous, 178). The color red was originally established as a particular symbol of evil in the story, and this is the first real mention of Sir Gawain’s red attire. This color was reintroduced alongside the only mistake Sir Gawain made, which leads to the assumption that the author was correlating this gift with an act of sin. To further the meaning of the green girdle, Sir Gawain even announced its symbol, As a sign of my sin, after being caught by the Green Knight (Anonymous, 187). When he arrived back he announced again that the girdle symbolized his sin and his fall to temptation.

Sir Gawain views his sin with a lot more shame than the other men of the King’s Court does, and he repeatedly announces the sash as a symbol of his failure (Howard, 433). However, when King Arthur’s court welcomed him back they changed the meaning of the green girdle from natural temptation and sin, to one of honor, humility, and renewal.

The green girdle was transformed from a symbol of primitive instinct, to a sign of sin, and finally to the lush green emblem of renewal. More importantly the color itself becomes a symbol of renewal. Before Sir Gawain officially received the green girdle from the Green Knight he was nicked by the axe after the third blow. Sir Gawain had arrived at a completely green and bushlike cave called, the Green Castle. After receiving the blow the Green Knight declared Sir Gawain, Free from fault/ as polished and as pure as the day you were born. This sentence correlates with the Christian ideal of forgiveness after repentance, and also works to establish an idea of renewal. This idea can also be shown through the return of the girdle to Sir Gawain. When the Green Knight gives the girdle back to Sir Gawain he describes it as gold-hemmed, leading the reader onto the idea that he is recognizing the girdle for its civilization, the gold, as a reward for Sir Gawain’s chivalry (Anonymous, 186).

Sir Gawain, only recognized the girdle for its green out of shame for his instinctive acts. These two contrasting statements paired together by the author display the two separate meanings of the girdle and the full importance that the colors have. At the end of the story Sir Gawain bared the girdle across his chest, and announced his failure and sin, in response he received laughter. The words from the Green Knight showed the previously mentioned ideas of renewal in faith and in his humanity. The laughter that Sir Gawain received conveyed more than acceptance; it conveyed total honor and total renewal for any matter that these people could consider unfaithful or sinful (Ganim, 383). The girdle shared similarities with one other symbol in the story, and ran parallel with more than it’s color. The pentangular shield and the girdle were displayed in similar circumstances, and both represented Sir Gawain’s character in some way (Howard, 431).

Sir Gawain’s second journey begins with a description of the green girdle to display Sir Gawain’s error and his upcoming hardship, however the first journey begins with the pentangle to display Sir Gawain himself (Howard, 431). The difference between the two items in explaining Sir Gawain is the green girdle shows the falter in his virtues, while the shield shows the strength of his virtues (Howard, 428). The Arthur made sure to detail every inch of the pentangle, and even included a picture of the item to display its value and importance. The pentangle included a picture of the Virgin Mary on the inside, and was a reminder to Sir Gawain to continue and have faith (Howard, 427). This display of Sir Gawain’s strong belief and his valued religious characters describes the kind of Knight Sir Gawain truly is. Display this particular aspect of Sir Gawain’s life, shows that he is a man of character and incredible morals. His morals make him a great target to show the humanistic tendency to be weak in the presence of sin.

The pentangles five pillars represent his faith in Christ, the joys of Mary, his ability to use his senses, and his possession of the five Knightly values (Howard, 427). The five values that this great addition to his shiny, flashy, and pure armour are: Friendship, fraternity, purity, politeness, and pity (Anonymous, 151). These were Sir Gawain’s core values, which went to explaining the kind of Knight Sir Gawain was, and deepened the meaning behind the inevitable mortal end and sin. If the pentangle was not so detailed the reader would not fully understand all of the crucial things that Sir Gawain held near, without this Sir Gawain would be an ordinary Knight, a man susceptible to temptation and sin. The use of the pentangle as a sort of Badge of truth (Anonymous, 150) made an undeniable impression of the purity of Sir Gawain in the way that it was a highlight to his already pure and clean armour.

This pentangle gave a sense of perfected morals to the reader, making sin seem impossible, when it finally occurred the reader could develop the true meaning of this play (Howard, 427). Even near perfect Knights are not immune to sin, and stray from their perfected core values, which the reader is aware of from this shield.

This play, without a doubt, is a play of humility and morality. The Arthur works with many symbols such as Lady Bertilak, the colors green, gold, and red, the green girdle, and the pentangle to portray the idea that even near perfect people are completely prone to sin. He uses symbolism and parallelism to completely develop his essay. Nature’s power explains the reasons for Sir Gawain’s fall from grace and is emphasized in several ways throughout the play to provide framework to the symbols in the story.

Works Cited

Anonymous.Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Norton Anthology: English Literature: The Major Authors, Edited by Stephen Greenblatt, Norton, 2013, pp. 135-188, 2 vols.
Ganim, John M. Disorientation, Style, and Consciousness in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. PMLA, Vol. 91, No. 3, May 1976. pp. 376-384. JSTOR
https://www.jstor.org/stable/461688 Accessed Oct. 8th, 2018.
Goldhurst, William. The Green and the Gold: The Major Theme of Gawain and The Green Knight. College English, vol.20, No. 2, Nov. 1958, pp.61-65. JSTOR www.jstor.org/stable/372161 Accessed, Nov. 12th, 2018.
Howard, Donald R. Structure and Symmetry in Sir Gawain. Speculum, vol.39, No. 3, Jul.1964, pp. 425-433. JSTOR
https://www.jstor.org/stable/2852497 Accessed, Nov. 12th, 2018.
Pedrosa, Antonio Vicente Casas. Symbolic Numbers and Their Functions In Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. Universidad De Las Palmas De Gran Canaria, 2006, acceda.ulpgc.es:8443/xmlui/bitstream/10553/6418/1/0234349_00012_0004.pdf. Accessed Nov. 12th, 2018.
Karim, Cheryl. O’ That Jolly Green Giant. Pagan Elements, 2002, csis.pace.edu/grendel/projs2002f/sceneessay.html. Accessed Nov. 12th, 2018.

Sir Gawain First Quality

In Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, the character Sir Gawain is brought to life by The Gawain Poet. Sir Gawain undergoes a challenge to test his qualities of knighthood. Along the way, he passes three major tests. In order to prove himself as the ideal knight, much of these actions revolves around honesty, noble and bravery, yet Sir Gawain journey leads him to a new discovery of what the meaning of responsibilities for a knight.

To begin, Sir Gawain first quality trait was shown when the Green Knight appears at the New Year’s celebration challenging the court to a beheading game, the knights must cut off the Green Knight’s head leading to 12 months and a day later to find the Green Knight and allow the Green Knight to chop whomsoever head off. King Arthur yet accepts the challenge because none of the Knights at the round-table appears to speak. But Gawain yet interrupts and offers a suggestion Let this game be mine (sir gawain ln 119).

As Gawain is making this suggestion it shows that he is willing to take up a challenge that no other knights would have, resulting to be seen as the bravest of all knights. Sir Gawain perceives himself as just any other night because he is King Arthur’s nephew, but Gawain wants to prove to himself that he is so much more by accepting this challenge. Gawain appears as he is unafraid of facing his own destiny. Continuing on Sir Gawain gives his statement to why he wishes the challenge for himself I myself am the weakest, of course, and in wit the most feeble; My life would be least missed (Sir Gawain ln 131-132). Sir Gawain’s statement shows he does not think highly of himself and he feels he is the least important of the knights.

He is willing to offer his life for his king revealing the honor he holds for King Arthur. Gawain would never have accepted to let his king take such a challenge, even if the other knights show their cowardice. With Sir Gawain accepting this challenge, knowing what it could result to along with risking his life and following through his promise leads back to him being the most noble of all.

During Gawain’s quest he encounters the lord, whom welcomes him to stay for a few days. The lord proposes whatever he hunts and brings home will be an exchange for what Gawain receives from staying at the castle. Gawain of course keeps his promises and returns the kisses he received to the lord, he has been truthful and giving the lord all he has received. Gawain then is offered a ring by the lady, Gawain couldn’t accept the ring. And therefore I pray you, do not be displeased, but give up, for I cannot grant it however fair or right. (Sir Gawain ln 212-213). He is refusing this ring because Gawain swore on his knighthood that he could take nothing. With Gawain keeping his words this is displaying an honorable deed. He feels as if it is wrong to receive something but give nothing back in return showing how high his morals are.

The lady soon offers another gift that is very beneficial to Sir Gawain. A gift that protects him from anyone who wishes to harm him, it was a stash and the lady began to explain No man under heaven can hurt him, whoever may try, for nothing on earth, however uncanny, can kill him (Sir Gawain ln 226). This statement leads to Sir Gawain knowing if this gift meant remaining alive, it might well be worth it to him. Sir Gawain continues to listen but he realizes that although the sash could save his life, taking it would require him to betray the lord by keeping the gift a secret but also using the gift would mean trusting in magic for help instead of depending upon his own strength and virtue. But knowing this was a reassurance that he would live Gawain’s accepts the gift. Gawain shows loyalty to the lady by keeping this gift a secret however when the lord returns Gawain does not reveal the stash to him, breaking their agreement. As the Gawain Poet displays that sir gawain is perhaps not all he appears to be.

New Years arrives, the day where it was King Arthur’s turn to strike at Gawain’s neck. Arthur then taunts him with two strikes but yet stops and it angers Sir Gawain, he orders for Arthur to just strike him and to stop being such a coward. The third and final strike wounds Sir Gawain neck. The stash of course does not seem to behave as Gawain had wanted to because he was bleeding from his neck. The Green Knight then explains to him that this was all a test for his honesty and loyalty. He had past the first two days with the lord but on the third day he had failed by accepting the stash.

Arthur then states You were less than loyal; But since it was not for the stash it self or for lust but because you loved your life, i blame you less (Sir Gawain ln 345). King Arthur knows that Gawain was not a bad person and for Gawain accepting this stash only meant he loved his life. Any normal person, no matter how honest and would do what he has done for fear of his life. After hearing this Sir Gawain felt such shame to break the Knights trust. He feels miserable for what he has done and calls himself a coward. Gawain continues to say I can’t deny my guilt; My works shine none to fair! Give me your good will and henceforth I’ll beware. (Sir Gawain ln 361-365). Seeing that Gawain is admitting to his fault and also accepting any consequences that is to come, shows the honesty he holds. What a good knight consist of is honesty and he is able to admit his fault and not hide from it. Yet that is not how Sir Gawain thinks of himself even though he paid his fault by admitting it and offering his head to the ax. The Green Knight then commends him for his honesty and accepts his apology.

Throughout the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight we see Gawain’s personality from his own words and actions. Along with the mistakes that Sir Gawain has made it shows him that he is human just like everyone else, and with the mistakes it shows he could be a better knight. Not all Knights are perfect, they all make mistakes but they also learn from it. In the end Sir Gawain remains honest, noble and brave.