Nature In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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, probably the most interesting aspect and the one that sometimes overlaps with prior mentioned is the one concerned with the Nature. There are various and rather fascinating references to the nature in this romance. It overwhelms with the descriptions of the nature, vegetation, and natural cycles-in many cases more indirectly than outright. This is why symbols take an important role in the romance.
In following lines I will be inquiring and observing divers parts of the poem related to the nature, visibly or symbolically, in order to identify function of all these references and to define the role and the significance of the nature that were alleged to it in the romance.
The main partAt the very beginning, which is in the title of the poem, if we look more closely and attentively, we will find a reference to the Nature- the green. This is the color we usually associate with the vegetation and its cycles of growth, decay, and rebirth. In English folklore and literature, green has traditionally been used to symbolize nature and its embodied attributes. As the title itself indirectly suggests (titles usually encompass or at least allude to the the main idea or theme of the text, which is also case here) , the nature would be playing an important role in the poem. Actually, the majority of events taking place in poem can be observed from the aspect of their connection with the power of nature, instincts, Earth, animals and all the other things we usually link to the nature. In tune with this, William Woods states: Nature, rough and indifferent as it must be, remains throughout the poem a basis for understanding human nature .
In the first part of the romance, probably the most astonishing part is when The Green Knight enters the Camelot-king Arthur’s court. His appearance results in bafflement, admiration and the fear, all in the same time. A knight all dressed in green and gold, riding on a completely green horse too had accessed the court. His description in the text is very detailed:And in guise all of green, the gear and the man:A coat cut close, that clung to his sides,And a mantle to match, made with a liningOf furs cut and fitted/the fabric was noble,Embellished all with ermine, and his hood beside,That was loosed from his locks, and laid on his shoulders.
With trim hose and tight, the same tint of green,His great calves were girt, and gold spurs underHe bore on silk bands that embellished his heels,And footgear well-fashioned, for riding most fit.
Naturally, for he is completely green, we can make an...

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