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The Knight Of The Sword

Decent Essays
Even if Gawain is able to abstain from having sex with the daughter in “The Knight of the Sword”, it is only because his life is at risk, not because he is showing any sort of respect towards the young girl. Had the threat of the sword not been quite literally hanging over his head, Gawain would have indulged himself with the daughter, not just to satisfy his own sexual needs but also to preserve his reputation as a chivalrous knight. The language of his argument is also telling of what his reputation entails. Gawain’s greatest problem he sees it as his responsibility to “do something” to the young girl. However, although Gawain never truly inquires if the daughter would want to have sex with him, she does not seem unwilling. Rather, she insists that the pair do not have sex so that they knight will not be killed. After she warns Gawain of his father’s plot, she reveals her feelings towards Gawain, she stating, “Now you should be forewarned by me, for you are so courteous and wise that it would be a very great pity and it would grieve me ever afterwards if you were killed” (“The Knight” 116-117). Gawain’s knightly behavior saves him because the young girl is willing to risk disobeying her father to save Gawain. The daughter’s act deviates from the patriarchal norm of obeying her father, which suggests Gawain’s honorable conduct inspires the daughter to decide her own faith. However, the daughter ultimately never obtains autonomy and her tragic fate is decided by her finial
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