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Choices Of Gawain Essay

1186 words - 5 pages

The five virtues of being a knight are friendship, generosity, chastity, courtesy, and piety (Sparknotes Editors). Those five virtues are what Sir Gawain so closely puts his faith in the epic poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. They are what make him who he is. "Gawain's courtesy is associated with his virtue in the symbolic device of the pentangle in the shield.” (Morgan 770). They are important factors to why he volunteered for the Green Knight’s challenge and to why he honored his promise even when he learned what his own fate would be. Gawain is determined to keep this code of chivalry no matter what it takes. Whether it be stepping up to a challenge, refusal of a woman’s advances, or ...view middle of the document...

He then stumbles upon the castle and walks up to it and is allowed to enter. This is where he meets the lord of the castle and his wife.
The host’s wife gives Gawain some trouble. The host offers for Gawain to stay in the castle for a few days and proposes a little game. The host is going on a hunting trip and bargains with Gawain and states “what I win in the woods will be yours and what you gain while I’m gone you will give to me.” (Sir Gawain II.1106-07). When the host leaves, Gawain is tempted by the hosts wife to sex but instead, in keeping with his chivalry, Gawain chooses to refuse and instead accepts a humble kiss from the lady. When the host comes back, he gives Gawain all of the things he’s killed and all Gawain has in return for him is a kiss. This goes on and on the second day, Gawain receives animals from the host and gives him two kisses in return. On the third day, the lady not only gives Gawain three kisses, but also gives him the Green Girdle, a magical girdle that will keep the wearer from death. The only stipulation is that Gawain cannot tell her husband she gave it to him. Even though Gawain had prepared to defend his honor and keep his word by letting the Green Knight behead him, this green girdle could keep him from death. He valued not only his chivalry but also his life. Preserving his life was something he just couldn’t resist. No one wants to die if they can help it. So he chooses not to tell the host and only gives him the three kisses, “He clasps him tight and kisses him three times with as much emotion as a man could muster” (Sir Gawain III.1936-37).
The next day is when Gawain leaves to find the Green Knight along with the guide that the host promised him. The guide tries to persuade him to just run away and that his secret would be safe with him but Gawain is determined to keep his word and return to the Green Knight. “Who has power in this place to honor has pact? Because good Gawain now walks this ground.” (Sir Gawain IV.2213-14) When he finds the Green Knight, he gets ready for the promised blow and even though he had the girdle on, he was still a bit apprehensive. The Green Knight...

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