Who is the Green Knight?
The Green Knight is described as an unusual and supernatural figure in the fourteenth century story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Throughout the story he is portrayed as a very confident individual who intends to play a game with one of the knights of the Round Table. In doing this, the Green Knight hopes to show that the knights of the Round Table indeed have flaws and weaknesses; this is the Green Knight's overall goal. However, the Green Knight himself can be viewed as a being prone to flaws and experiencing weaknesses. As the deceitful master plan he creates develops throughout the story, so does the truth behind his intentions for such a plan. Thus, the role and purpose of the Green Knight is to be …show more content…
He offers his head to be cut off in exchange for a counterattack.
What is unusual about the Green Knight is that he is known as the Green Knight throughout the story until Sir Gawain asks him for his name: "How runs your right name?" (208). The Green Knight explains to Sir Gawain how he has come to be known as the Green Knight. He explains to Sir Gawain that Bercilak de Hautdesert is his real name, and because of a magical lady known as Morgan le Faye, he is transformed into such a being. The Green Knight continues to explain that the reason she does this to him is all part of a plan to undermine Arthur's knights to cause his self-destruction. Morgan le Faye, who is Arthur's half-sister, later makes her goal to destroy her brother's kingdom and place her son, Mordred, on the throne. Because of this, the Green Knight is created by her to confuse Arthur and his men, "She put this shape upon me to puzzle your wits" (208), as well as to scare Guinevere.
In the end, the plan works, as Sir Gawain fails the test and Morgan le Faye's scheme. The Green Knight's test of Sir Gawain makes it clear that no man can be virtuous in everything he does. Morgan le Faye's scheme works as she not only achieves in making Sir Gawain fall from his knightly role as chivalrous and virtuous, but also uses the Green Knight for her plan.
The fourteenth-century poem Sir Gawain and
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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.
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’
In the beginning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain is introduced as a courtly knight with a sense of perfection. The author does this to compare it to his failures, which are later displayed through Gawain’s acts at Morgan le Fay’s castle. Gawain is portrayed to be a chivalrous knight with honor and courage. Gawain is presented with a challenge: accept the game to cut off the Green Knight’s head, and in a test of courage and honor, set out to allow the Green Knight to return the favor to him in a year and a day. This initially shows the knightly characteristics of Gawain which presents him as noble and honorable, which allows the author to shock the audience when Gawain falls under pressure to actions that contradict the chivalrous code. The first of these actions taken by Gawain in opposition to his morals is the temptation
Essay with Outline Loyalty, courage, honor, purity, and courtesy are all attributes of a knight that displays chivalry. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is truly a story of the test of these attributes. In order to have a true test of these attributes, there must first be a knight worthy of being tested, meaning that the knight must possess chivalric attributes to begin with. Sir Gawain is self admittedly not the best knight around. He says "I am the weakest, well I know, and of wit feeblest; / and the loss of my life [will] be least of any" (Sir Gawain, l. 354-355). To continue on testing a knight that does not seem worthy certainly will not result in much of a story, or in
Even though the green knight turns out to be good at the end of the story, he still presents Gawain with a variety of difficult challenges throughout the poem that make him seem evil. The green knight is first perceived as evil when he barges into king Arthur’s castle and insults the knights of camelot for hesitating to cut off his head. The moment that Sir Gawain volunteers to cut off the green knights instead of allowing Arthur to do so he is crossing the threshold from the ordinary world into the world of adventure. When Gawain departs on his journey to have his head cut off he is putting the greater good of camelot before his preference of not being decapitated by giant green knights. This choice that Gawain makes marks his first step towards becoming a better knight. Even
A particular archetypal character in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight who plays a central role in creating the conflicts that help to develop Gawain’s character and the ultimate theme of this medieval romance , the Green Knight. The Green Knight deals with different archetypes, the evil figure… ultimately good, the trickster, and can also convey a type of mentor. In the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, at the end once Sir Gawain finds the green chapel the green
The Green Knight plays many archetypal characters throughout the whole story. For example, one of the archetypal character the Green Knight plays the Evil Figure. The speaker states “Then the Green Knight swiftly made him ready, and grasped his grim weapon to smite Gawain.” (Weston 8) This conveys that since Gawain had beheaded him the year before, it was now his turn to return a blow to Gawain's head. Although throughout the story the Green Knight is seen as the evil figure, he ultimately ends up being a figure of good by discipline Gawain from his acts of dishonesty Another character that the Green Knight plays is the Trickster. No one knew the identity of the Green knight since his appearance was very abstract. Gawain later finds. that the Green Knight was the host of the castle in which he spent days before he had to go and face the Green Knight. A third character that the Green Knight plays is a minion. Later along in the story, the Green Knight reveals that
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale that takes place in the medieval period. During this time period, knights were considered very common and were expected to follow one main code of law, chivalry. This code mainly stated that a knight must be loyal to his king, honest, modest, and brave. Chivalry is practiced in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the form of tests that are given to Gawain to reveal his true character, and what is valued most to him. Throughout these tests, Sir Gawain proves that he values his honor over his life and will not fall to temptations displayed to him.
The tale of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” focuses primarily on beliefs of honor, bravery, and chivalry. The main character, Sir Gawain, embodies these qualities. His character is meant to be a model of chivalry. He emanates honor when he offers to fight the Green Knight for King Arthur. Medieval people would admire this courageous act. In his struggles to keep his promise Gawain demonstrates chivalry and loyalty until his honor is assessed, in the end, by the Green Knight’s schemes. This tale also includes a larger-than-life character who commands respect, the Green Knight. This superhuman being defies all laws of nature when his head is chopped off, yet he still remains alive and alert. These characters and their extraordinary actions provide perspective for the values and interests of medieval people.
From all the information the Green Knight gives, more continues to show about his character showing that he is merely just a lackey of something much greater. With him taking the role one of the mentors of the story, this character archetype in a sense connects with the Green Knight also being the EPUG or the “Evil Figure that is Ultimately Good.” This ties in with the fact that the Green Knight is also the host and what is said in the ending dialogue between Gawain and the knight is informing Gawain of the ultimate goal. “Sir Knight, and wast wanting in loyalty, yet that was for no evil work, nor for wooing neither, but because thou lovedst thy life—therefore I blame thee the less” (Weston 40). This quote takes place when the knight/host exposes who he identifies as to the Sir Gawain and what the plan all along was, this last exchange between the two conveys that the Green Knight also partakes two more character archetypes; the minion and it proves the claim of him being the “evil figure who is ultimately good.” The last exchange shows how he falls into the role of the minion, how the Green Knight talks about Arthur’s evils sister, Morgain, and how she worked toward dishonoring Camelot.
King Arthur and his knights represent the pinnacle of bravery, chivalry, and honor. However, when a strange knight, the Green Knight, enters Camelot with a challenge, none of the knights accept it (?). No knights wanted to go blow for blow with the Green Knight for fear of losing their lives. It is not until Arthur rises to face the challenge, to defend the honor of his court, that Gawain steps forward and accepts it. Therefore, the purpose of the Green Knight is to teach Sir Gawain to value his honor and the honor of the king more than his life.
Gawain, a knight of the famed King Arthur, is depicted as the most noble of knights in the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Nonetheless, he is not without fault or punishment, and is certainly susceptible to conflict. Gawain, bound to chivalry, is torn between his knightly edicts, his courtly obligations, and his mortal thoughts of self-preservation. This conflict is most evident in his failure of the tests presented to him. With devious tests of temptation and courage, Morgan le Fay is able to create a mockery of Gawain’s courtly and knightly ideals. Through the knight Gawain, the poem is able to reveal that even knights are human too with less than romantic traits.
The character of the Green Knight, Sir Bertilak, wholly opposes the Christian, honorable characterization of Gawain. When Gawain comes to meet the Green Knight, he exclaims: “‘Can this be the Chapel Green?/Alack!’ ...Here might/The devil himself be seen/Saying matins at black midnight” (2185-2188). The Green Knight is a fairy, who resides in a parody of a church. His pagan figure contrasts sharply with this characterization of Gawain, who is strongly connected with his Christian faith. Gawain is also a foil to the Green Knight in that Gawain epitomizes courtly manners, whereas the Green Knight lacks courtesy. He traipses into Camelot and acts as though he cannot tell Arthur is king (224-231), and later refers to the courtiers as “beardless children” (280), showing a great lack of manners. Later, as Sir Bertilak is hosting Gawain, it seems that the Green Knight does actually possess courtesy. However, boarding Gawain is revealed to be a part of a grand scheme to shame prideful knights of the Round Table (2456-2459). The illegitimacy of his courtesy toward Gawain shows that the Green Knight lacks the honesty attributed to truly courteous knights. The Green Knight, a pagan figure that shuns the manners of the court, is inverted by the character of Gawain, who epitomizes honorable knighthood in this
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a poem by the Pearl Poet, sends an epic hero on a journey to discover his flaw. In his journey of figuring out his flaw, Sir Gawain encounters a Green Knight that holds a holly and axe in his hands. On a Christmas dinner, the Green knight rides into King Arthur’s hall proposing a game. Any knight willing to cut off the his head is able to keep the axe, but only if he agrees to let the Green Knight return the blow at a later time. The Green knight was described as one who was plantlike and had a giant body structure, leading to the assumption that he was a certain type of vegetation god. The knight also held a holly in one hand and an axe in another, possibly representing the necessity of plants to die in the cooler climates in order for them to grow again when it summer returns. The Green Knight, playing an important role for plant life and crops, is still a mysterious character. His odd characteristics with his supernatural powers make it evident that the Green Knight has some connection with crops and vegetation.
The Green Knight gives he challenge of delivery one blow with the axe, and if he survives, then the man who took the challenge will have to meet him at his chapel in a year to face the consequences of his actions. When the Green knight survives Sir Gawain’s blow, which decapitates him, he is displayed as some kind of otherworldly being, or at the very least more than human. This can be interpreted as a Pagan element of the story, but it can also be interpreted as a Christian allegory for Satan or