This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Chivalric Romance In Sir Gawin And The Green Knight

854 words - 4 pages

What does a Chivalric Romance really represent? In “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight,” Sir Gawain continuously proves his knightly virtues and code of honor. Chivalry includes bravery, honor and humanity. He proves that he is in fact a “real” knight. It shows many ways that “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” are perfect and the emphasis on the importance of the chivalric code.
Despite its divine origins, the chivalric code is ultimately a human ideal. Chivalry is not a trait naturally found in man, but rather a concept constructed by humanity in its pursuit for Christ-like perfection. It has even been suggested that chivalry is at odds with the nature of man. Despite the weakness of his human nature, however, Sir Gawain is expected to maintain the chivalric code, and he must depend on his faith in God in order to do so. In “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” the chivalric code - or rather, the human ability to abide by it - is challenged by nature in a number of different ways.
The challenges that nature presents to the chivalric code are characterized by the Green Knight. The insignificance of the code is revealed in the reactions of the people of the court to the Green Knight's challenge. His proposition reduces "the noblest knights known under Christ” (Part 1) “to cowering, quaking men.”(Part 1)
In spite how the court reacted to the Green Knight's challenge, Arthur still insists, "No guest here is aghast of your great words" (Part 1). By verbally accepting the Green Knight's challenge, Sir Gawain supports Arthur's playful - if not outright dishonest - words, thereby managing to maintain the integrity of King Arthur's court. He also unknowingly passes his first and most obvious test.
It is in the castle that Sir Gawain's ability to maintain the code of chivalry is challenged by human nature, in the form of sexual desire. Sir Gawain, in respect to the chivalric code, may not sleep with his host's wife even in light of her willingness and his obvious physical attraction to her. It is a test of Sir Gawain's sheer will that he is able to deny his nature in the spirit of chivalry. However, here the insignificance of the code is once again hinted at, for this challenge reveals a contradiction: it is rude of Sir Gawain to decline a lady's wish, yet it is not proper for him to yield to her desires.
Although Sir Gawain does grant her request for a kiss, he still manages to uphold his...

Find Another Essay On Chivalric Romance in Sir Gawin and the Green Knight

The Unnamed Wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1689 words - 7 pages The Unnamed Wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the green knight’s wife plays a pivotal role in the story. Yet, she is never given a name and it is unclear what motivates her actions. She could simply be following her husband’s orders to seduce this visiting knight. She could be under the tutelage of Morgan le Fay. Or she may be acting under her own guidance and using her sexuality to carry out

Truth in Poetry: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

861 words - 3 pages think of a chivalric knight of the round table. Though one young challenger does step up, Sir Gawain, nephew of King Arthur. This honorable action by Gawain as a response to the conflict presented by the Green Knight demonstrates the truth of chivalry and the will to do anything possible to protect the king, no matter how dangerous. Another challenge displayed in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" is the one proposed by King Bertilak, in which

Personification of Ideologies in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

1215 words - 5 pages When Christianity was first brought to the isle of England by the Romans in the fifth or sixth century, it heavily influenced the ancient pagan religions that were pre-established by the inhabiting Anglo-Saxons. The two very different faiths quickly began to merge and Christianity adopted certain aspects of pagan mythology before eventually overwhelming it. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight gives the reader an interesting look at the different


1661 words - 7 pages IntroductionThe romance Sir Gawain and The Green Knight can be analyzed from different perspectives. We can look into the aspect of Christian beliefs in the poem and their relation with pagan symbols and customs. We can talk about the style and the language used in the work. Referring to the historical background and the characteristics of the poem as a representative of a particular genre (romance) is another possible way of analysis. However

Women's Indirect Power in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1606 words - 7 pages history did. Women had many manipulation strategies. From the chivalric tendencies of knights to women’s seductive tactics, manipulation was somewhat simple. Gawain’s respectful and chivalric actions empower many women in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, especially Lady Bercilak. He states “This is my duty, now and forever, / to serve you, lady” (SGGK 1547-48). Gawain is basically telling lady Bercilak that he will do anything she pleases and is

Symbolism in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1981 words - 8 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a medieval poem by an unknown author, written in Middle English in the 14th century. This poem is uncanny to most poems about heroism and knightly quests as it doesn’t follow the complete circle seen in other heroism tales. This poem is different to all the rest as it shows human weaknesses as well as strengths which disturbs the myth of the perfect knight, or the faultless hero. The author uses symbolism as a

Misogyny in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

2268 words - 9 pages Women were always viewed as weak, dependent, and powerless in the Middle Ages. Not only is it a common view during that time period, but this also is often stereotyped labeled to women today as well. In the romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the hatred of women is portrayed throughout. However, while women are certainly looked down upon, they also are influential to the knights. This romance also portrays how a woman having different

Mythic Elements in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

1181 words - 5 pages , the myth elements, or the story-telling elements? Readers from all over the world have read these tales for many reasons, and have taken away different points and ideals. What is impacting them more, the myths behind the tales? Or does the artful story itself hold that claim? Tales like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight have both of these elements. Still, one usually makes more of an effect on the reader. By looking at both the mythical elements

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

565 words - 2 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight utilizes the convention of the French-influenced romance. What sets this work apart from regular Arthurian or chivalric romances is the poet's departure from this convention. The clearest departure takes place at the resolution of the piece as the hero, Sir Gawain, is stricken with shame and remorse rather than modest knightly pride, even after facing what appears to be certain death and returning to his king

Essay on Games in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1373 words - 5 pages Games in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight     Many games are involved in the plot of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Green Knight, Bercilak de Hautdesert, plays a "Christmas game" with Arthur's court at Camelot (line 283); Gawain's host's wife plays games with Gawain throughout the third section of the poem; Gawain's sees his arrangement of mutual trade with his host as a game (line 1380); and all of the events of the story are

Social Class Distinction in “Sir Gawain and the Green knight”

788 words - 4 pages “Sir Gawain and the Green knight” is a romantic Middle English poem written in the fourteenth century by an unknown author. This poem is a fairy-tale like story that gives its readers a glimpse into the social class system of Medieval England. This literary work opens with the famous King Arthur, a local bishop, and King Arthur’s knights enjoying a royal feast at Camelot during the Christmas season. This poem provides an accurate depiction of

Similar Essays

Christian Symbolism And Chivalric Ideals In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

1920 words - 8 pages characteristics of Christian perfection and chivalric ideals. The very first scene with Bertilak of Hautdesert known as the Green Knight begins to mold your perception of how chivalrous Sir Gawain is by portraying him as valiant, humble, and virtuous knight to Arthur. I felt that the interruption of Arthur accepting Bertilak’s request, gave Gawain the chance to become a martyr if Arthur in fact could not behead Bertilak in a single swipe and therefore

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight And Romance Conventions

2322 words - 9 pages observes, these lines “could serve almost as a classic definition of chivalric romance.” The first part of Calogrenant’s answer could have come from the mouth of Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as he searches for the Green Chapel to fulfil his pact with the Green Knight. However, the latter part, whilst applicable to Gawain’s situation – Gawain’s “adventure” does serve the purpose of putting his virtue ‘to the proof’ - , demonstrates a

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight; A Romance?

1347 words - 5 pages the concept of a romance; it has all the elements that would make one consider the text as so. The tale holds adventure, magic, a quest and an unexpected reality check that even those who are considered “perfect” are also just humans. The author used this story as a way of revealing faults in some of the aspects of knighthood through the use of intertwining chivalric duty with natural human acts; thus showing to be perfectly chivalrous would be inhuman. Works Cited Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; A Romance?

The Character Of The Green Knight In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

751 words - 3 pages The Character of the Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In the most general sense, the Green Knight is an anomaly to the story of " Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," the only supernatural element in what is otherwise a very believable and wholly real rendering of a specific length of time. Gawain is momentarily tricked into believing‹or, rather, hoping‹that the garter is magical in nature, but both his fear and the Green