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Archetypal Roles In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

Decent Essays
title? A number of characters in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight play key archetypal roles in the perfecting of the hero’s moral development such as the Green Knight and the Hostess. These two characters reveal their importance and the theme of the entire poem through the trials that they force the main character, Sir Gawain, to endure while on the quest to maintain Camelot’s honor. To begin with the Green Knight conveys a very daunting character, barging into Camelot and challenging Gawain from the moment he first approaches the Round Table. Gawain hesitantly accepts the challenge, but not before this Green Knight ridicules the Knights of the Round Table for stalling so long to accept the challenge: “Where are now your pride and conquests, your wrath and anger and mighty words?” (Weston 6). Gawain, being hesitant to accept the challenge, refuses the call, a refusal whose “summons converts the adventure into its negative” (Campbell 60). Which would be more important to Gawain--putting his life on the line or the honor of Camelot? Gawain reflects on this question throughout his quest. Gawain also questions life over Camelot's honor in the final moment of his quest when he is about to receive the axe blow: “But Gawain swerved aside as the axe came gliding down to slay him as he stood..” (Weston 38). He flinches as the ax comes down on the first stroke prior to what might have been a brutal death. Gawain shows human qualities, despite the fact that he has slayed dragons
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