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.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century Middle English alliterative romance about the adventure of Sir Gawain, King Arthur's Knight of the Round Table. This great verse is praised not only for its complex plot and rich language, but also for its sophisticated use of symbolism. Symbolism is a technique used in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to give a significance to the plot. The Green Knight, the Green Sash, and Sir Gawain's Shield are three of the most prominent symbols given to us in this verse.
On the other hand, this mysterious woman is defined by nature. She is incredibly beautiful and she is seemed to be illustrated as a nymph because they roam around the meadow with lavishing clothing and with rare beauty. “ their clothes were in expensive taste, close- fitting tunics, tightly laced, made of deep- dyed purple wool. Their faces were most beautiful. The older of the two conveyed.”(56). As demonstrated in other works of epic and romance, usually the older women is possessed with unnatural magic or obtains bargains with the younger gentlemen just like in this story. In addition, the older woman is always illustrated to be the most beautiful woman the male character has ever seen. In Lanval, nature v. humanity comes to play when the Queen is rejected by Sir Lanval for the Nymph who stole his heart. By this display of rejection the Queen falsely accuses Lanval as a man who betrays the oath and code of conduct to King Arthur and the rest comes to play. On the other hand, in “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight” the theme of nature v. humanity is demonstrated through the characters of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. In this poem, Sir Gawain represents humanity, civilization and honor while the Green Knight represents nature and deviance. This concept is presented in the wager the was made between the Knight and the Green Knight, in this “beheading game”.
A close reading of the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight reveals a very antifeminist view. The poem, told in four parts, tells of common medieval folklore. The stories seem to be of different plotlines, but start to intersect in interesting ways – that is, the character of Morgan Le Fay begins to frame the stories together. The half-sister of King Arthur, she holds intense hatred for her half-brother and his court. It is her thirst for the downfall of Camelot that makes this character infamous, and, surprisingly, her success and the strength of her ability that give a bad name to women. Through the examination of Morgan Le Fay’s character, it is clear that a successful woman is always an illusion.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are some of the most widely read and anthologized pieces of medieval poetry. These tales are generally celebrated and enjoyed because of the author’s use of wit and satire, as Chaucer often uses word play and characterization to deliver hard-hitting, yet entertaining truths about his time period. This is the case in “The Miller’s Tale,” which portrays the story of a carpenter with an adulterous wife and the shenanigans that take place during and after one of her affairs. After closely examining “Absalom’s Revenge,” the last section of this tale, it is clear to see that Chaucer uses language, puns, and other writing techniques to provide a commentary on the lewdness of some who lived during the Middle Ages.
During a high point in medieval chivalric romance, both Marie de France’s Lanval and the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tell fanciful tales of knighthood, chivalry, and spiritual and temporal (courtly) love. Both Lanval and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight portray their female characters as possessing considerable power and influence, within the events in the story and in the structure of the plot. Indeed, the female characters in both works function as the catalysts of the events within the stories, and also as instruments for each author's conveyed meaning. While Lanval presents its female characters in an unorthodox reversal of gender roles, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight employs the female characters as moral and spiritual trials for the hero, Sir Gawain. I will examine how the fairy princess and Queen Gwenevere in Marie de France's Lanval present a reversal of gender roles as was traditionally understood; she presents femininity as powerful, inspiring, and morally dynamic (for a woman can be ideal, or she can be corrupt). I will compare this to the representation of Lady Bertilak and Morgan le Fay in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in which they are used to convey a “Biblical” warning for an ecclesiastical audience; particularly that of moral failure and the temptation of the flesh.
In Marie De France’s poem “Lanval”, the knight Lanval faces immense cultural pressure to get married and have a male heir, as it is the norm in King Arthur’s kingdom. It may appear that “Lanval” is supporting the concept of the institution of marriage, as the story had a heavy focus on marriage, and the court nearly punished Lanval for rejecting Guinevere. On the surface, the poem could easily mislead the reader to believe this is the case, but without further analysis, the reader may miss the courting that the mystery-lady has provided Lanval, which prove why the text critiques the establishment of marriage, as her courting is very much of the inverse of a typical heterosexual relationship in the culture. This misunderstanding can be
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.
Literature of the English Restoration offers the example of a number of writers who wrote for a courtly audience: literary production, particularly in learned imitation of classical models, was part of the court culture of King Charles II. The fact of a shared model explains the remarkable similarities between “The Imperfect Enjoyment” by the Earl of Rochester and “The Disappointment” by Aphra Behn—remarkable only because readers are surprised to read one poem about male sexual impotence from the late seventeenth century, let alone two examples of this genre by well-known courtly writers. In fact, Richard Quaintance presents ten more examples by lesser-known poets as he defines the literary sub-genre of the neo-Classical “imperfect
The tale of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is a well-known piece of literature spawning from the middle Ages. It’s believed to be dated around the year 1400 and it currently survives on a single manuscript in the British Library shared by three other poems. Pearl, is one of the middle-aged poems on the manuscript, the other two are named: “Patience” and “Cleanliness,” and are considered Bible Stories to Historians. These Other Poems however haven’t shown promise of survival in British Literature and Chivalry courses as much as Sir Gawain and The Green Knight has. Not having a known Author also makes this story all the more interesting considering the nature behind the story as well as the mysticism involved in the text. In this essay, a broad
In Henry IV Part 1, Shakespeare introduces two relationships that seem to be polar opposites of each other, the married couple, Hotspur and Lady Percy and the newly wedded couple, Mortimer and Lady Mortimer. Even though Lady Percy and Lady Mortimer did not have key roles in the play they were significant to the portrayal of their male counterparts and Shakespeare’s portrayal of misogyny in the late 16th century. In the Elizabethan era, women were considered second class citizens, and weren’t allowed the same rights as men, and that misogynistic behavior resulted in many unhappy marriages. In Shakespeare’s play, Mortimer and Lady Mortimer are the only characters with a happy relationship because they don’t exhibit the same sexist attitude as the other characters; while Hotspur and Lady Percy’s relationship is an example of how England’s misogynistic attitude resulted in an unhappy marriage.
“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.
While comparing the two poems, "Gretel in Darkness" by Louise Gluck and "Hansel and Gretel" by Anne Sexton with the original Brothers Grimm tale "Hansel and Gretel", different perspectives, point of views and messages are shown.
“This was her latest masterpiece of guile: she set up a great loom in the royal halls and she began to weave, and the weaving fine-spun, the yarns endless, and she would lead us on: ‘Young men, my suitors, now that
In the opening lines of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Gawain-poet predicates the numerous dualities—which lead the reader through questions of moral seriousness—that exist in the poem. The opening historical recounting, according to Richard Hamilton Green, reminds the reader that “the greatness of the past is marred by reminders of failure” (179). The paradox of triumph and greatness arising out of failure foreshadows Sir Gawain following the same pattern of fate as his predecessors. While the completion of Gawain’s quest reaffirms the historical paradox of greatness, his journey to renown is fraught with situations and symbols that develop the poem’s main concern of moral seriousness. The Gawain-poet skillfully reveals his