Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a poem written during the medieval period about the Arthurian legend. Although the author is anonymous, it is apparent that "the dialect of Sir Gawain points to an origin in provincial England, and it represents the cultural centers which remote from the royal court at London where Geoffrey Chaucer spent his life" (Norton, 200). This poem is considered one of the best works of Middle English literature. One reason is that the author was able to ingeniously combine two different plots, folklore and romance, into one literary work. The other reason is the author’s elaborate, but brilliant usage of alliterations and rhymes.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is about a Green Knight, a figure that many consider to be an immortal, who challenges Arthur’s court. Sir Gawain, the most courageous and noble knight of the court, accepts the Green Knight’s challenge for the sake of King Arthur’s reputation. Believing that he is acting on behalf of the king, Sir Gawain does not know that it is really a test of his own chivalry. The following passage that I will analyze introduces and describes the Green Knight. Here, I will talk about the importance of the knight’s attitude, size, and his greenish color. All these are significant elements, as you will see, that help to demonstrate his condemnation of the court.
The author begins by telling us how the Green Knight breaks into the dining hall as everyone is about to be served their main course, "there hurtles in at the hall-door an unknown rider" (Norton, 205). Although this behavior is very rude, we must be able understand why the Green Knight acts this way because he has absolutely no respect whatsoever for all the knights in the court. In addition, King Arthur is very childish himself, "but Arthur would not eat till all were served; so light was his lordly heart, and a little boyish" (Norton, 204). Thus, having such a weak leader, there is a perfect excuse for the Green Knight to look down upon the court. He feels that the knights in the hall are a shame to the code of chivalry because their power and ability are simply overstated. So, we can see that the Green Knight is fearless of the court, for he knows that its highly praised reputation is undeserved.
Following the description of the rude entrance is the description of the Green Knight's size:
...From broad neck to buttocks so bulky and thick,
And his loins and his legs so long and so great,
Half a giant on earth I hold him to be,
But believe him no less than the largest of men... (Norton, 205)
The above lines add more to the description of the Green Knight’s boldness and strength. Being a giant and the largest of all men, the Knight is once again described as superior to all the rest of the knights in the dining hall: "And formed with every feature in fair...