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Representation Of The Green Knight Essay

813 words - 4 pages

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’s physical features are clearly described in the story. He was described to have green skin and a huge build: “greater than any on earth; from neck to loin so strong and thickly made, and with limbs so long and so great that he seemed even as a giant… For he was clad all in green” This indicates that the knight’s sturdy build and green color is like that of a healthy plant. The knight’s long limbs could represent the roots of vegetation, as is necessary for the roots to be long in order for the plant to receive its water and nutrients. The knight’s strong physique clearly indicates that his long root like limbs had collect the necessary nutrients in order for him to be his size. The Green Knight’s structure and coloring clearly represents his ties to the plant life and vegetation.
When the Green Knight made his entrance into King Arthur’s halls, it was noted that he held a holly in his hand: “But in one hand he had a holly- bough, that is the greenest when the groves are bare” The holly made reference to the Celtic mythology of the “Oak king” and the twin brother, the “Holly king”. Their constant fight for supremacy made up the summer and winter seasons. It was...

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