The Truth Behind the Knight: the Presence of Archetypes in Sir Gawain & the Green Knight

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The Truth Behind the Knight: The Presence of Archetypes in Sir Gawain & the Green Knight

In the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, we are introduced to a young man, who, like many of young men, is trying to discover himself and travel through his rite of passage. He is trying to figure out who he is in life, and while in his journey, passes through many phases that mold him into one of the great Knights of the Round Table that old King Arthur wanted to serve with him. These phases affect everyone at some point in their lives. Whether it causes someone to take an iconoclastic stand against a certain more or folkway or if it enables a person to give serious thought to what life could mean, archetypes enable any protagonist
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The Seeker Archetype is also present when Sir Gawain is defined in this journey. In any story, the main goal starts with yearning. Snow White longs for her prince to come; Pinocchio wants to become a real boy; Telemachus searches for Odysseus; the prince searches for a great treasure (Nilsen, Pace Nilsen). The Seeker responds to this call of discontentment by searching for a better life or a better way by being true to a higher or deeper underlying truth (Pearson 123). When the story began, Gawain was just a knave, in training to become a knight. He may very well have dreamed of the day when King Arthur would touch his shoulder and tell him to rise as a Knight of the Round Table. Now that the Green Knight had shown up in the court, challenging the knights, it must have been an opportunity too tempting to pass by. Now that he is bound to the Green Knight’s promise, Gawain is hurled through an intense and hurried initiation into knighthood. Needless to say, Gawain may have more questions than answers. Some of these questions can’t be answered unless he lived through the experience of a knight. Some of the characteristics of a Seeker lie in his faithfulness to the code of chivalry. An example would be when the Lady is vying for the attention of Sir Gawain. The Lady persists in her desires, perpetually being spurned by Sir Gawain. His

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