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

Sir Gawain Essay

988 words - 4 pages

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Gawain, a knight of the famed King Arthur, is depicted as the most noble of knights in the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Nonetheless, he is not without fault or punishment, and is certainly susceptible to conflict. Gawain, bound to chivalry, is torn between his knightly edicts, his courtly obligations, and his mortal thoughts of self-preservation. This conflict is most evident in his failure of the tests presented to him. With devious tests of temptation and courage, Morgan le Fay is able to create a mockery of Gawain’s courtly and knightly ideals. Through the knight Gawain, the poem is able to reveal that even knights are human too with less than romantic traits.
In order to satirize Gawain's courtly ways, the poet must first establish the presence of perfect chivalric code in Gawain, only to later mock that sense of perfection with failure. This establishment of chivalric code is created in part through the expression used to describe Gawain throughout the poem. He is described as "noble" and "goodly" on more than one occasion, giving the reader a positive understanding of the poem's hero (405, 685). This courtly view of Gawain is further expresses by his noble acceptance of the Green Knight's beheading game, in order to "release the king outright" from his responsibility (365). Gawain was the first to accept the Green Knight's terms. His acceptance of the beheading game before any other person brings the assumption that Gawain represents the most noble of Arthur's court. Lastly, even the Green Knight compares him to other knights as "pearls to white peas" (2364), a sign of his higher status among men.
By portraying Gawain as noble and honorable, the poet is able to shock the reader with actions that are uncharacteristic of a chivalrous knight. The first of these conflicting actions is obvious in the temptation of Gawain by his host's lady. This lady, the huntress, seeks to pursue Gawain in order to fool him into actions that contrast the knightly ideal. She will do anything to accomplish these actions in him, even through sexual temptations. With another man's wife pursuing him, Gawain must be courtly to the lady, but at the same time must deny her advances. This unavoidable conflict creates a fear within Gawain. Upon discovering that the lovely lady was approaching him in bed, Gawain lays a sleep, in order to "try her intent" (1199). This action reveals Gawain's fear that his host's lady is pursuing him. This unavoidable fear causes his failure of courtliness, for Gawain would have claimed a kiss from the lady, but did not. The lady ridicules him for this, even though, the situation was unavoidable. Gawain must abide by his morals and abstain from immoral thoughts, while at the same time being a courteous guest. Moreover, Gawain is forced to make a choice between courtesy and adultery, either of which would result in the dishonor of...

Find Another Essay On Sir Gawain

Sir Gawain: The Ideal Knight Essay

1213 words - 5 pages Sir Gawain: The Ideal Knight Throughout the Arthurian legends, Sir Gawain seems to be the epitome of a noble knight. He is always putting his king before himself, repeatedly sacrificing his own life in some way for King Arthur. He is an honorable knight that lives up to his word. This is evident in both Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell." In these

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1962 words - 8 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Character Analysis of Sir Gawain "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell" is a medieval romance poem written by an anonymous author. Sir Gawain is one of the major characters in the poem. He is a very likable personality. Sir Gawain represents an ideal knight of the fourteenth century. Throughout the story, we see Sir Gawain portrayed as a very courteous and noble knight, always trying to help King Arthur

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

2183 words - 9 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the poet depicts an entertaining story of adventure and intrigue. However, the poem is more than a grand adventure. It is an attempt to explore the moral ideals of Sir Gawain. Gawain's standards are represented by the pentangle on his shield. The depiction of the pentangle occurs when Sir Gawain is preparing to gear up for his quest for the Green Chapel. Gawain's outfit

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

956 words - 4 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In this passage taken from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Lines 1623-1718, the reader sees how Sir Gawain is the hero of the poem, through the tests of the host. Sir Gawain is speaking to the host of the castle where he is staying for a few days before journeying on to the Green Chapel. The host has just returned from hunting and killing some boar. While the host is out hunting for the boar, we learn that

Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

1466 words - 6 pages In the Pearl poet’s Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, an epic talk emerges to reveal a man’s journey of honesty, morals, and honor. Sir Gawain accepts a challenge in place of his uncle King Arthur, with hidden tests and viable consequences. As Gawain begins his journey, he proudly upholds his knightly honor and seeks out his own death; however, Gawain gives into his human emotion and is soon distracted from his chivalrous motives. As a result

Sir Gawain Hunting Scenes Vs Bedroom Scenes

1474 words - 6 pages Are You Sure That's All You Have For Me? Are You Sure That's All You Have For Me? The heroic poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a story of a young knight, Sir Gawain, having his pride and knighthood tested. It is not a test that he will know of, so all his reactions will be what he thinks are the right choices. Beside the main game between Sir Gawain versus the Green Knight, there's also a very important game that actually builds the

Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

1623 words - 6 pages Sir Gawain and The Green Knight Summary The story begins in King Arthur's court, where he and the Knights of the Round Table are celebrating New Year's. While they are enjoying their feast, a gigantic Green Knight rides in on a green horse with an immense axe in his hand to offer them a challenge. His offer is: "I shall bide the fist blow, as bare as I sit…….., but in twelve month and one day he shall have of me the same." (Norton

Nature Vs Humanity In Sir Gawain

582 words - 2 pages In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," the theme of humanity against nature is a central conflict that Gawain faces. Sir Gawain's fear of his inevitable death is portrayed, affirming the weakness and mortality of human beings. Meanwhile, nature is able to constantly regenerate and restore itself, emerging as the superior force. Thus, through Gawain's struggles, the invincibility and the impregnable strength of nature is shown

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

846 words - 3 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight As with so many stories written in the Middle Ages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is filled with wonders, magic and knightly pursuit of fame and nobility. It combines folklore and romance as does, according to The Norton Anthology, no other known work. The character of the Green Knight fascinates and amuses. Most people would not think of it as an Arthurian-time creature. The Green Man in fact, is a part of

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

1082 words - 4 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Sir Gawain Faces Temptation      Sir Gawain was known as a noble and honest man who was willing to stare death in the face to protect King Arthur. However, the courtly Sir Gawain is submitted to the unexpected—not to the test he expects, but to one he does not expect (qtd. in Spearing). The underlying theme throughout the entire poem is temptation, which, is Sir Gawain’s greatest

Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

2388 words - 10 pages . The legendary King Arthur and his court in Camelot are the center of Arthurian legend that defined the chivalric code that was followed for centuries in Europe by knights. Arthurian legend through stories such as Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, defined the chivalric code and exemplified its uses throughout its plot. Even before the men in these steel suits knew these characteristics, Arthurian legend was developed in its earliest stages. While

Similar Essays

Sir Gawain Essay

768 words - 3 pages Sir Gawain Essay In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain continuously proves his knightly virtues and code of honor. Chivalry includes bravery, honor, and courtesy. He proves that he is in fact a 'real'; Knight. He shows his bravery by shying away from nothing and no one. He proves his honor and courtesy to everyone he meets by showing respect to all whether he receives it back or not.      Sir Gawain shows

Sir Gawain In Transition Essay

1416 words - 6 pages Sir Gawain in Transition Sir Gawain has played a significant role in Arthurian legends since the Middle Ages. His first major appearance in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight depicts Gawain as a warrior rather than a womanizing knight like others from King Arthur's court. Even in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain focuses on his battle with the green knight rather than the advances of Bercilak's

Sir Gawain And Beowulf Essay

1240 words - 5 pages According to Sir Gawain and Beowulf heroic adventures, Sir Gawain has to leave his place by himself to meet the Green Knight and takes a risk on his own way as same as Beowulf who went out from his palace to beat the dragon by himself. However, their calls to the adventures contrast Sir Gawain and Beowulf heroic stories. The first decision is the most significant part of the heroic story that the protagonist has to choose either go out

"Sir Gawain And The Green Knight." By Sir Gawain

1170 words - 5 pages Sir Gawain and the Green GirdleThe distant effects brought upon by Sir Gawain keeping a Green Girdle are presented in the poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. There are several accounts where the main character, Sir Gawain, fights his inner human nature. Gawain is essentially a knight, and ultimately a human being that like all human beings, fears death. A green girdle given to him by a lord's lady in the end saves his life. However, Sir