Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of the most intriguing Middle English chivalric romances known today. The poem is a delicately written balancing act between two cultures, clashing in a time of unease between the religion of tradition, (paganism) and the new religion, (Christianity). The poem is also one of the best known Arthurian tales, with its plot combining two types of folklore patterns, the beheading game and the exchange of winnings. The Green Knight is interpreted by many as a representation of the Green Man of folklore and by others as an allusion to Christ. The story is told in stanzas of alliterative verse, ending in a bob and wheel. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an important poem in the Middle English romance genre, because it involves all the typical plot progression of a hero who goes on a quest to prove himself. Yet what sets Sir Gawain apart from heroes of lore is his inability to finish his quest. The aspect which makes Sir Gawain and the Green Knight different is Sir Gawain’s failure. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a perfect example of the struggle between enduring Paganism and newfound Christianity.
An abundance of the literary world’s best and most engaging poems or stories took place during the very fictional reign of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, who most famously, resided in Camelot. The poem, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, written during the medieval period, is without a doubt one of the best fictional stories to ever come from this era. I found it especially interesting that both Christianity and Paganism intertwine during this heroic story. This encourages whoever is reading it to have a contrasting mindset because the story has not only Christian elements, but many pagan themes as well; it makes you wonder what type of story this really is. Many people speculate, however, whether the Gawain author could
Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is considered not only a most brilliant example of Middle English poetry but one of the jewels in the crown English Literatures, and sits in the British Library under conditions of high security and controlled humidity. In the anonymously written story, Sir Gawain And The Green Knight shows Sir Gawain’s chivalry form his loyalty to his King, being testing by Green Knight, and his behavior during game playing.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an Arthurian poem; an enchanting story of chivalry, romance and heroism. With its intricately woven details, parallels and symbols, the reader will often easily overlook these facets in a story of this caliber. Undoubtedly, the author would not have spent time on details that do not add to the meaning of the overall telling of the story. The three hunting scenes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and in parallel, the three temptations, monopolize a considerable portion of the story. In a comparison of the three hunts and their corresponding temptations, we will see how the poet parallels these circumstances to emphasize the meaning of its symbolism.
The colour green in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is another important symbol used in this poem. The colour green is evident in the character of the Green Knight and in the green girdle that Gawain accepted of Lady Bertilak. The connection between the colour of the Green Knight and of the green girdle can be seen as a symbol of the inevitable failure of Gawain. As Gawain accepted the girdle he failed to keep his word to Bertilak and the Green Knight and also failed two of his knightly virtues, chastity and courtesy. The colour green therefore can be seen as a symbol of Gawain’s betrayal in the poem. “Þis is þe token of vntrawþe þat I am tan inne, And I mot nedez hit were wyle I may last; For mon may hyden his harme, bot vnhap ne may hit” (SGGK, 2509-11). This quote discusses the girdles meaning to Gawain once he arrives back to Arthurs court. It is described as a ‘token’ of dishonesty and Gawain believes he must now wear it
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has an overload of symbolic archetypes, though one of the most symbolic, in my opinion, is Gawain’s shield. This symbolic shield accompanies Gawain on his journey to the Green Knight’s Chapel and has multiple meanings within itself. One is the picture of the Virgin
Medieval scholars continually inspect the particularities of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (SGGK) within the context of the preexisting Gawain literary tradition, and the issue of Gawain’s sudden antifeminist diatribe repeatedly comes to the forefront of these textual investigations. Often, literary critics claim that Gawain’s antifeminist outburst is common for the fourteenth century and that his acceptance to wear the girdle as a sign of shame still epitomizes him as a model of knighthood. Other scholars hesitate to dismiss Gawain’s misogyny as commonplace, they note that this moment is inconsistent with his reputation as an ideal knight. Gawain’s hasty compulsion to blame women suggests ruptures within the essentiality of his chivalric identity and a closer examination of the text reveals that this moment is not isolated. Despite scholars repeated attempts to identify the essential knight within Gawain, there are several examples of Gawain’s unstable identity throughout the text. I will argue Sir Gawain’s knightly identity is performative rather than essential, and his diatribe is the culmination of his failure to perform his own expected social identity.
The alliterative poem “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight” is a story of bravery, yet fearfulness of a young knight and his willingness to stand up out of respect for his king. This Middle Age poem, originated in the late fourteenth century by an unknown author called Gawain’s poet, follows the journey of King Arthur’s nephew, Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain is a knight for the royal court during the time and when the Green Knight questions the loyalty of King Arthur’s court, Gawain is the only person to stand up for the king. Doing this shows his loyalty to the king and is the beginning steps to reaching courtesy and chivalry.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is the classic tale of a knight of the round table who takes up the challenge of the mysterious Green Knight. The poem begins with the Green Knight’s sudden arrival and his declaration of his proposition: a knight may strike him, and then a year and one day from then he will return the blow. This tale is most well-known for dealing with the themes of a knight’s code of chivalry, loyalty, resisting temptation, and keeping one’s word. While the whole poem is full of great lines that beautifully deliver the message, one of the best passages come at the end of the poem after Sir Gawain has managed to survive his second encounter with the Green Knight. This passage perfectly encompasses the various themes of the poem, as it deals with all of the trials Gawain has faced up until that point and also explains how he deals with the shame he feels for surviving the game in the way he did.
What really characterized the medieval period?is that each literary movement was influential in the creation of other texts. It was a kind of appreciation for literature in the sense that each piece of literature fed into another which means that they were connected and that there were influences between them at the time.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is an excellent work to reference when examining different relationships within Arthurian legends. The author of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is unknown, but he is sometimes referred to as the “Gawain Poet” or “Pearl Poet” because of his additional works: “Pearl,” “Purity,” and “Patience.” All four poems were part of the Alliterative Revival of the Middle Ages of Northern England, containing mostly religious content. This may be the origin of Gawain’s exaggeratedly religious portrayal in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is organized in a stanza arrangement. Each stanza ends with one short line and four longer lines, called the bob and wheel, which “knits” the story together. It may important to note that the work was most likely written in the fourteenth century. The work is set in sixth-seventh centuries, but includes modern advances in armory, dress, and décor from the time the poem was written. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” exhibits many different types of love and relationships in which they are demonstrated. Familial love, spiritual love, erotic love, and courtly love are demonstrated within families, friendships, marriages, and Godly relationships.
The pentangle's placement on Gawain's shield suggests that his knightly virtues may be a protection in his quest. It appears when Gawain is about to leave in quest of Green Knight. He wears it because it carries a special significance for him. He defines his life by this symbol and attempts, to exemplify the traits it represents. The physical features of the pentangle he wears on his shield emphasizes that he's pure and perfect like the gold on his shield.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, perhaps the most perfectly wrought of all medieval English romances, has called forth a wealth of scholarly commentary, in regard to its main symbol, the Pentangle” (Beauregard). Christianity is evident in this epic poem. “Some knights in the Medieval Era would carry a shield symbolizing bravery and battle; Sir Gawain is symbolized by the Pentangle that shows his morals” (Beauregard). The pentangle symbolizes the virtues to which Gawain aspires: to possess brotherly love, courtesy, piety, and chastity, “First he was deemed flawless in his five senses;/ secondly his five fingers that were never at fault;/ thirdly the five wounds Christ received on the cross/…The fifth set of five which I heard the knight followed / including friendship and fraternity/, purity and politeness that impressed at all times/, and pity which
The five pointed star is primarily ``a token of truth''; truth is the largest significance of the pentangle (30. 626). Yet this star is no ordinary symbol. Gawain's coat of arms links more strongly to its symbolic meaning than most other knightly symbols, which were often taken from nature and mythology. The pentangle is not an ancestral coat of arms, for it applies to Gawain only. Thus Gawain takes it much more seriously than other knights would consider their own symbols. He defines his life by this symbol and attempts, with much success, to exemplify the traits it represents.
According to Christopher Reeve, “a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” In today’s culture, the hero is frequently depicted as a knight in shining armor, an image that originates from age-old literature such as the fourteenth-century Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In such literary works, the heroic knight has several virtuosic character traits: friendship, chastity, generosity, courtesy, and piety; however, he must also endure a quest in which his virtues are tested. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, three obstacles challenge the hero Gawain’s morals, including the Green Knight, the seductress, and the threat of death, leading to a further maturity of