Sir Gawain - An Ideal Symbol of Chivalry
The chivalric code is a very complex, and perhaps somewhat foreign concept to a modern person. There are many rules and taboos that a knight must obey. Indeed, the very concepts of honor, love, and humility have been raised to the highest conceivable power, making it almost impossible for a mortal to become a true, perfect knight. Sir Gawain, in the passage [Norton, 1535-1622] of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, proves himself to be an ideal symbol of chivalry. One of the symbols of knighthood is a lady of knight's heart; knight's behavior with ladies is important in general, and Sir Gawain behaves as a true knight with the hostess of the castle. Another important side of being a knight includes the skill of carving an animal, and that is also described in the passage.
One aspect of being a knight is choosing a lady of his heart. The knight is supposed to perform noble tasks in her honor, thus glorifying her name. Love is knight's inspiration for all of his actions, and when he thinks he has done enough glorious deeds, he comes back to his lady. If his lady is kind enough, she will marry him, unless she is already married. In the passage, the host's wife tries to seduce Sir Gawain. However, she is not the lady of his dreams, and since Sir Gawain follows the principle -- "to remember a knight is to reflect goodness in everything he does, for that is what makes a knight honorable, " he politely turns her offer down. It is possible that Sir Gawain refuses hostess' charms because he is afraid of her husband; however, with the whole story evolving around Sir Gawain's nobility, it is highly unlikely that this is a reason for him.
Sir Gawain does this in a way that does not make the hostess feel bad in any way. He says that he is pleased that "The one so worthy as you would willingly come And take the time and trouble to talk with your knight And content you with his company" [Norton, 1537-1539], intending to show her that he is not worthy enough of her love. All he can do is "to please, as honor behooves" [Norton, 1547] and only because honor obliges him. So she tests him and tries to lure him to sin, but his defense is impeccable. The lady realizes that Sir Gawain is truly noble,...