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"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 Gawain and his chivalric and courageous decision to wear a "magic" green girdle is the ultimate cause that leads to his near death experience.In order to fully understand the event's that lead up to the girdle, one must know how Sir Gawain comes to challenge his own life. The poem begins with a huge festival and New Year's Eve dinner at King Arthur's Court in Camelot. Out of nowhere, a wondrous stranger, dressed entirely in green, with a gigantic ax in one hand, bursts into the hall. While the court stares in stunned silence, the Green Knight demands a challenge. The challenge constitutes one blow of the ax to the Green Knight's head, in exchange, the volunteer will strike a return blow upon the volunteer in a "twelvemonth and a day." Eventually, Arthur agrees to play and begins to carry the ax up when out of nowhere, Gawain speaks out, "Would you grant me thy grace." The court agrees to let Gawain play. The Green Knight gives the ax to Sir Gawain, then exposes his neck for the blow. With one quick motion of the ax, the head rolled off the body, with "blood gush [ing] from the body, bright on the green." The Green Knight's body picks up the head, mounts his horse, and charges Sir Gawain; "Sir Gawain, forget not to go as agreed, and cease not to seek till me, sir...That your neck should have a knock on New Year's morn. The Knight of the Green Chapel I am well known to many..."The green girdle, which is the eventual cause of Gawain's near death experience, comes into the story one year later. Gawain travels for weeks alone through the cold and treacherous woods of North Wales to find the Green Chapel. After he prays for shelter, he comes upon a "wondrous castle" on Christmas Eve. The lord and his lady greet Sir Gawain at the castle door. Sir Gawain investigates and inquires about the Green Chapel. The lord answers and assures him that it is nearby, and concludes by providing him with a guide to lead him there on New Year's day.The lord and Sir Gawain agree to exchange whatever prizes they receive during the next three days. For the first two day's, Sir Gawain keeps his pledge and honesty by exchanging all that is won, but on the third day, he does exchange the final gift given to him. Sir Gawain does not give the lord the "magic" green girdle that the lady of the castle gives him for protection. The lady promises that the girdle will protect and save him from any harm. Gawain knows he has broken his trust with the lord of the castle. He does not exchange the girdle, and even goes as far as to accept a gift from...

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