According to Joseph Campbell, archetypes are found just about everywhere in anything storytelling related as they are meant to serve as the foundation of a story. The departure, initiation and return are essentially the plot of any given story. Campbell describes this process as one that showcases the adventure of the “tales of a number of the world’s symbolic carriers of the destiny of Everyman” (Campbell 33). A prime example of this particular web of archetypes is portrayed in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as Gawain, the hero, journeys to find the Green Knight.
The call to the task arises when the Green Knight marches into Camelot and challenges one of king Arthur’s renowned knights to strike at him in return for a strike back from the Green Knight in a years time. At first none of the knights adhere to the challenge but after some astonishment and light mockery from the Green Knight, Sir Gawain accepts the challenge. Gawain only accepts the challenge in order to keep his pride and honor not just for himself, but for Camelot. Soon after realization hits, Gawain hesitates as he contemplates on whether or not to consider his life more valuable than his honor. Once he relinquishes his task he prays to God, his supernatural aid, which Campbell defines: “The first encounter of the hero journey is with a protective figure who provides the adventurer” (Campbell 63) with essentially some kind of guidance, which in this case God answers Gawain’s prayers as after Gawain prays he
The archetypes that are prevalent in many different stories all have have common origin in Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. More specifically, in the medieval story, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, there are distinct archetypes that are especially necessary to the theme of the story.An understanding of three key archetypes—the temptress the magic weapon, and the task—reveal the essence of Gawain’s role within the archetypal quest motif.
After the Green Knight humiliates King Arthur and his knights by challenging them, Gawain stepped up to the challenge in their place, asking the King “Uncle, let me stand in your stead and strike the blow” (Thompson, 11). Here, Sir Gawain is following vow two of the Knights Code of Chivalry “to serve the liege lord in valor and in faith" by committing to the challenge himself, he is protecting the king and serving him. Coincidentally, by accepting the challenge, he is also following vow ten of the Knights Code of Chivalry “to guard the honor of fellow knights.” As an effect of, Sir Gawain’s noble act, he stops the embarrassment caused by the Green Knight’s challenge, preserving his fellow knights’
An archetype, which can also refer to as a universal symbol, can not only limit it to theme, setting, and symbol but can also refer to as a character. A type of archetype can not only represent one character, it can represent many different types of characters. Depending on the story that the author wants to try and portray. In the medieval romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight dramatically demonstrates how a single character can play many archetypal roles. This story possesses many different types of characters that can all have more than one archetype. Having characters that more than one archetype in this story helps build Sir Gawain’s character and helps guide him through his initial quest and trails that he encounters to face in order to face the Green Knight. There are several different characters in the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that aid in the troubles that Sir Gawain faces throughout the story.
Archetypes are universal symbols used in literature to represent fundamental human motifs. In the medieval romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the hero must undergo archetypal situations to succeed in his quest to redeem the honor of Camelot. Gawain embodies the transcendent hero as he further goes into “The Zone of Magnified Power” (Campbell 71) then faces conflict resulting from the threat placed on the society. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight dramatically demonstrates how a single character can play many archetypal roles.
A number of several different archetypes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are what makes the hero’s journey so successful in many ways. The journey sends the Hero in search of some truth that will help save his kingdom. Sir Gawain goes on a journey to find the Green Knight as per his request. This journey ultimately leads to the knowledge that he seems truly chivalrous. As Sir Gawain approaches the castle, the men of the castle were begging him to cross the bridge. The bridge
When talking about a morally ambiguous character, many ideas may float to mind. Perhaps a Dr. Jekyll type of person will pop up in your mind, or maybe just simply a person who doesn’t let morality get in the way of their ambitions. For a character to have a sense of evil present in them, it is not necessary for them to walk around with an ominous laugh, or anything comical in those lines. Similarly, for a character to have a sense of good, it does not mean they have to be perfectly correct either. In order to put the morally ambiguity into perspective, it is necessary to analyze the presence of both good and evil into a real character, and how it affects the story as a whole. From the Pearl Poet’s chivalric romance, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, Sir Gawain is an excellent example of a morally ambiguous character. In the poem, Gawain’s purely good image was shattered when he cut off the Green Knight’s head, since he took the game as a challenge. That event could be considered as the event that set the plot into action, as the following events are all resulting from Gawain’s action. However, Gawain symbolizes good by initially embracing the knight's moral code in accepting the challenge and then, agreeing to the terms of the Green Knight. Gawain still symbolizes goodness by demonstrating proper knightly actions at times. The Pearl Poet uses Gawain as a morally ambiguous character to set up the plot. He firstly sets up Gawain as a good character, then uses a series of
In many works of literature, many archetypes (or symbols) are used to help the reader understand the story of a hero’s quest. In the Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, the hero has to go on a fatal journey to uphold the reputation of Camelot. While enduring that journey, Gawain has to conquer many trails. Gawain’s succession of trials leaves the hero, like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, a “sadder but wiser man.” With all the trials that Gawins intakes, many archetypal characters contribute to the theme of the story.
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, many archetypes can be found, like in most works of literature. This literary work included situational and symbolic archetypes as well as character archetypes and color archetypes. Each archetype in the poem aided in Sir Gawain’s development as a character. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight dramatically demonstrates how a single character can play many archetypal roles.
The characteristics of heroism, magical elements, and the supernatural, just to name a few, are all shown in the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. First, we see the supernatural when the Green Knight speaks even though he has been beheaded. Next, we see magic and larger than life characters when the Green Knight reveals he is both Lord Bertilak and the giant knight. Lastly, heroism is shown when Sir Gawain stands up for his King and takes his place in battle. It is these characteristics that place Sir Gawain and the Green Knight into the genre of medieval
Archetypes can be found in most literary work, especially in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight most characters or objects served to aid in the development of the hero by being either a situational, character, color, or a symbol archetype. The poem begins with a challenge being presented to the knights of the Round Table by the Green Knight. While seeing that no one else will accept the challenge, putting Camelot’s honor at stake, Gawain accepts and then realizes that in a year they must meet again and the Green Knight will return the blow that Gawain gave to him. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight dramatically demonstrates how a single character can play many archetypal roles.
With every corner we turn in today’s culture, we become more and more aware of the archetypes that surround us. Archetypes are the works of a typical character, situation, setting, or symbol that can be found in fantasy and reality. An example would be the renowned medieval story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Pearl Poet. The author permeates the story with situational, symbolic, and character archetypes that illustrate the profound life of Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain was apprehensive of his journey at first, but as time passes, he began to make choices that unveils to the audience the true flawed knight that he was.
Sir Gawain is reluctant to accept the Green Knight’s challenge. He fears for his life. In the end he only accepts the challenge to protect King Arthur’s life and honor. He knows it is his duty to protect King Arthur, but only volunteers to do so at the last second. Sir Gawain also breaks his oath to the Lord of the castle he is staying in. He broke their vow to trade whatever they had earned during the day when he keeps a sash the Lady of the castle gives him because he believes it will protect him during his battle with the Green Knight.
An archetype is defined as an image, story-pattern, character, setting, symbol, or situation that recurs frequently in literature and in life. It demonstrates universal human experiences and associates strongly with readers through a subconscious understanding. In the Epic of Gilgamesh the main character, Gilgamesh, is an example of a superheroic archetypal hero. He took on an epic quest for everlasting life by following the archetypal steps of a hero’s journey. Through suffering due to tragedy, realizing the nature of his quest, seeking help from a mentor, experiencing failure, and returning home with a companion, Gilgamesh’s story followed the situational archetype of a hero’s journey.
The definition of “hero” is someone who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Both stories listed below have one man, the hero, using chivalrous attitude to help their town’s people for the better. Although created from two different time periods, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’s journey motif can be easily compared to Beowulf’s, as well as contrasted.
Even in the middle ages of literature, a story such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight had many aspects of Joseph Campbell’s view of the hero’s journey. In the story of our character Sir Gawain accepts a “Call to adventure” (Campbell 45) and goes on a quest that will go through many of the archetypes. Likewise, there lies one character, The Green Knight, that can be many of the archetypal characters in the cycle of the hero’s journey. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight dramatically demonstrates how a single character can play many archetypal roles.