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    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain Green K Essay

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    night Essays

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Middle English romance poem

    written by an anonymous West Midlands poet also credited with a lot of

    other poems written during that time. The protagonist, Sir Gawain, survives

    two tests: a challenge, which he alone without the assistance of King

    Arthur’s knights accepts, to behead the fearsome Green Knight and to let

    him retaliate a year later at the distant Green Chapel; and the temptation

    to commit adultery with the wife of Lord Bercilak–in reality the Green

    Knight–in whose castle he stays in en route to the chapel. This story is

    emblematic of life; how it issues tests and challenges and the consequences

    rendered as a result of failing or succeeding these challenges.

    Sir Gawain is a very symbolic character; symbolic in the sense that

    he represents innocence in life. He was not afraid to accept a challenge

    because it meant saving the kingdom from the affects of anarchy as a result

    of not having a king.

    Sir Gawain accepting the challenge from the Green

    Knight instantly represented one of the things that knighthood represented,

    fearlessness. People accept those kind of challenges everyday. This could

    possibly be where the term “sticking your neck out” could have come from.

    When people accept challenges, most do not want to accept the consequences

    as a result of being unsuccessful. Gawain was not like this. When the year

    passed he gallantly mounted his horse and set off for the Green Chapel.

    This showed that Gawain was brave. This was preceded by the warning “Beware,

    Gawain, that you not end a betrayer of your bargain through fear.”

    Along this journey Gawain faces peril and self-reluctance in the

    form of the elements and the never-ending search for the chapel

    respectively. These feeling can be characterized as the inner turmoil

    suffered as a result of dealing with one’s conscience. The journey also

    tested his faith in the sense that he was constantly in prayer during his

    journey, and not once did he curse or renounce the name of God. It seems as

    if the prayers were what kept Gawain sane and focused on the purpose of

    his journey.

    Gawain’s prayers were answered when he rode along and finally

    came upon a place that he could petition for possible rest. This castle

    would be the setting for Gawain’s next test. The test builds as he feasts

    with the court and finds that a certain lady has an interest in knowing

    Gawain a little better. The lady is later to be known as the wife of

    Bercilak -aka-the Green Knight. This is shown as temptation. The lady

    tries to seduce Gawain while Betilak is away on a hunting excursion.

    Gawain

    resists every advance made by the lady except a kiss for which he mentions

    in confession. Gawain is given a sash by the lady which is said to protect

    the wearer from harm. Reluctantly he accepts the sash and does not tell

    Bercilak that he received this from the lady. He does this because he puts

    his trust in a material item instead of God to protect him from harm. This

    will prove to be one of Gawain’s few downfalls in this story.

    Gawain sets out for the Chapel and finds the Green Knight there

    honing his ax.

    Gawain bending over for the blow is feinted by the knight.

    When this happens Gawain flinches and is chastised by the knight for doing

    so. The knight raises the ax for a second time and feints the blow again.

    This time Gawain is furious at the knight’s playfulness. The Knight raises

    his ax for a third time and nicks Gawain on the back of the neck. The

    knight explains that the first two strokes were symbolic of the exchanges

    at the castle between Gawain and the lady which he resisted, and the final

    blow was representative of Gawain failing the final exchange and accepting

    the sash in place of faith in God.

    The knight says that it could be

    forgiven and praised him for being one of the most .

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