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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. The characteristics of Sir Gawain like kindness, generosity and firmness are revealed from his actions.

Sir Gawain is a very gentle and noble knight, always willing to help people, particularly his king. King Arthur is in a bad predicament, as he has killed a deer while hunting in the woods. To save his life, King Arthur has a period of twelve months to find the answer to the question: What is it that women most desire? Of King Arthur's knights, Gawain is the only one who can help King Arthur: "Sir, me marvailithe right sore, Whate thing that thou sorrowist fore." (329). King Arthur is depressed about the entire situation, and needs a friend to understand him and help him. Sir Gawain being a noble and gentile knight is willing to help King Arthur with his problem. Sir Gawain suggests that the two of them ask everyone for the answer:

'Ye, Sir make good chere;
Let make your hors redy
To ride in straunge contrey;
And evere wheras ye mete outher man or woman, in faye,
Ask of them in whate they therto saye.'(330).

He travels to different places to find the answer to the question, in order to help King Arthur.

Sir Gawain is a noble and loyal knight. The test of his loyalty to King Arthur comes into play when King Arthur asks Gawain to marry the ugly woman named Dame Ragnell. The author describes Dame Ragnell as the ugliest and the foulest of all creatures. In reply to Dame Ragnell's marriage proposal, Gawain shows his loyalty to King Arthur by saying:

'I shalle wed her and wed her again
Thoughe she were a fend,
Thoughe she were as folle as Belsabub,
Here shalle by the rood,
Or elles were not I your frende;
For ye ar my king withe honour
And have worshipt me in many a stoure.'(334).

Here, Sir Gawain follows the code of comitatus and helps King Arthur by agreeing to marry the old and ugly Dame Ragnell. Sir Gawain tells King Arthur that even though Dame Ragnell is as foul as Belsabub, he will marry her to keep King Arthur's honor. The honor and friendship of King Arthur mean a lot to Sir Gawain. According to comitatus, Sir Gawain has a duty and obligation to help his king. Sir Gawain's willingness to throw away his life, for the friendship and honor of King Arthur, proves that Sir Gawain is a very noble and loyal knight. He treats Dame Ragnell in a proper manner, in the same way that he would if she was young and beautiful. During the fourteenth century women were praised high in the society. It was a duty of the knight to treat his wife or lady in a gentile and graceful manner. On the wedding night, when...

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