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Who is the Green Knight? Essay

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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
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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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