Monomythic Archetypes In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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After indulging in a multitude of stories, whether it be books, myths, movies, or videogames, an observant person would notice the repetitious story-telling that occurs throughout the various mediums of literature. These monomythic patterns do not exist merely as the product of poor storytelling, but rather as a way of creating conflict, character development, and theme in a narrative. The Arthurian legend Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain and the journey to his beheading in order to preserve the order of Camelot, and carries many of the monomythic archetypes (both relating to characters and situational) defined in Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces, but also a variety of symbols to help define the conflicts, character development, and themes of the poem.
Having the entire poem aptly named after them, the two main characters expectedly act as the two most prominent character archetypes of an story, the hero and the devil figure. In Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell describes the hero figure as “a hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder” where “fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory is won” (28), which fittingly describes Sir Gawain’s journey. Gawain starts off in the “world of common day”, otherwise known as Camelot, where he encounters the herald and devil figure of his quest, The Green Knight. The Green Knight brings the hero’s quest to Gawain and plays the role of the

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