Sir Gawain And The Green Knight; A Romance?

1347 words - 5 pages

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a poem which tells the tale of a knight who undergoes trials-testing the attributes of knighthood-in order to prove the strength and courage of himself, while representing the Knights of the Round Table. One of King Arthurs most noblest and bravest of knights, Sir Gawain, is taken on an adventure when he steps up to behead a mysterious green visitor on Christmas Day-with the green mans’ permission of course. Many would state that this tale of valor would be within the romance genre. To the modern person this would be a strange category to place the poem in due to the question of ‘where is the actual romance, where is the love and woe?’ However, unlike most romances nowadays, within medieval literature there are many defining features and characteristics of a romance-them rarely ever really involving love itself. Within medieval literature the elements of a romance are usually enshrouded in magic, the fantastic and an adventure. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight follows Sir Gawain over the course of one year, from one New Years to the next, as was the deal he and Bertilak, the green knight, struck.
Closely associated to the romance tradition are two idealized standards of behavior, especially for knights: courage and chivalry. The protagonist within many medieval romances proved their worth by going on quests, as many a knights went in those times, thus returning with great tales of their travels and deeds. Many modern people think of chivalry as referring to a man's gallant treatment of women, and although that sense is derived from the medieval chivalric ideal, chivalry could be seen as more than that. Knights were expected to be brave, loyal, and honorable-sent to protect the weak, be noble towards women, to be pious and most importantly have the highest prowess in combat. However, with all this in mind, to what extent should one consider this tale as a romance; as it holds the aspects of what one would consider a romance-are there features within the poem that contradict what a romance is, in turn making this less of a romance then some medieval tales? The adventure of Sir Gawain is comprise of magic, trials and a quest to fulfill a promise.
The supernatural, or magic as some call it, are words to describe the scientifically unexplainable. Within Sir Gawain and the Green Knight there are reaccuring supernatural elements and motifs; the prominent one being the Green Knight, or as we later know him as Lord Bertilak, who interrupts King Arthurs New Years celebration. This
“monster of a man, immeasurably high,
a hulk of a human from head to hips,
so long and thick in his loins and his limbs
I should genuinely judge him to be a half giant
[...] no sould had ever seen
a knight of such a kind-
entirely emerald green.
[...] And the horse: every hair was green, from hoof
to mane.
A steed of pure green stock.”
This unexpected visitor astonished the guests with his “grass green”(190) shade, for

Find Another Essay On Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; A Romance?

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

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

2388 words - 10 pages Green Knight tells Arthur he’s not here to fight in line 279, but rather to entertain and starts to tell everyone about his game. After which no one jumps up to volunteer to take the swing as he expected and the Green Knight starts to doubt King Arthurs Court. This is where Sir Gawain delivers his first act of chivalry, King Arthur volunteers to take a swing with the axe, but Sir Gawain states, “I implore with prayer plain that this match should

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

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"

789 words - 3 pages a mere test held by Morgan Le Fay to determine of Camelot's best knight actually has any faults. As a result of his horrible failure Gawain wears the lingerie of another man's wife on his arm as a token reminder. In attempts to show their support all the other knight of Camelot mimic this behavior to show the importance of the code of chivalry in their lives.As romance, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight shows that the context of courtly love also

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

804 words - 3 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale spun from the Legends of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Typically intended to inspire lessons of chivalry and humility, Sir Gawain’s story follows the road paved by previous Camelot accounts. In thoroughly providing an analysis of this story one must first determine the plot, followed by the metaphorical use of illustration and imagery, which the storyteller employed in order to reveal

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1993 words - 8 pages 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

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

1007 words - 4 pages walked there!" His loyalty and courage are what set him apart from someone who merely can kill a monster. In a romance the idea of fighting for the people’s survival is no longer the primary focus, and the reader finds the hero fighting for his ideals rather than his people, which is certainly true in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Yet a romantic hero can be described almost like an epic one; he is loyal, honorable, and courageous

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 and the Green Knight - 603 words

603 words - 2 pages admiration of all. Sometimes, the main character becomes a hero by overcoming some force within his or her own self. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, this is ultimately what Gawain must do in order to be considered a hero. Sir Gawain is originally faced with the challenge of the Green Knight. The Green Knight appears in King Arthur's court and causes a disturbance, issuing an open invitation to all in the court "to strike one stroke for

Similar Essays

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight And Romance Conventions

2322 words - 9 pages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Romance Conventions In Chrétien de Troyes’ Yvain, Calogrenant relates his ‘adventure’ in Broceliande. He meets a monstrous herdsman in a forest, who asks who Calogrenant is: “‘I am, as you see, a knight looking for something I’m unable to find: I’ve sought long and can find nothing.’ – ‘And what would you want to find? – ‘Some adventure, to put my prowess and courage to the proof.” As John Stevens

"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

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight 1962 Words

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

1623 words - 6 pages Gawain and The Green Knight is not only a fascinating romance and adventure story, but it is a story with deep psychological and moral meaning. Sir Gawain and The Green Knight has the principle characteristics of any medieval Arthurian romance, but at the same time, it possesses its own unique characteristics, which, when combined, bring out the true moral statement of the story. Ironically, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight uses deceit to bring out