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Essay about Sir Gawain's Shield and the Quest for Perfection

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a religious allegory full of Christian symbolism with the central message of sin, forgiveness, and redemption. The poem is a great story of virtues, trust and honor. It's an Arthurian romance in which Sir Gawain carries a shield on his chest in his quest for Green Knight. Gawain's shield has two images, a picture of Virgin Mary on the inside and "Painted upon his shield is a five-pointed star (pentangle). He is a perfect knight who realizes that it is important to be a good Christian The image of Mary inside this shield conveys that Gawain never loses heart and the detailed description of the pentangle is a key for proper understanding of the poem's message.

"The poet spells out the significance of the five points on the pentangle for the reader in lines 640-55. Here, he associates each of the five points of the pentangle with a set of five fives that present a construction of an ideal knight in physical, religious, and social terms 1. Five senses stands for sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste which means He is matchless and faultless, perfect in use of these five senses. 2.Five fingers that present physical strength. 3.Five Wounds: He is faithful to five wounds that Christ received on the cross and is hopeful for salvation and redemption." It's the symbol of whole-hearted commitment to Christian piety 4.Five joys (the Annunciation, Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, and Assumption) means to be strengthened by the five joys of Virgin Mary. His courage is said to derive from them and He presents an ideal Christian knight. 4.Five virtues: friendship, generosity, chastity, courtesy, and piety. Eventually, all of these five fives and Gawain's loyalty to them give him characteristics of...


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...te failing as a result of the green girdle.

In the poem, the axe of Green Knight, who represents God, is a symbol of the judgment that comes to Sir Gawain, who presents men, at the end of the journey filled with challenges and temptations which presents the judgment everyman receives at the end of every quest." The Green Knight, much like God, tests Sir Gawain's honor and loyalty. Each mistake that Gawain makes represents man's sins. The three blows that Gawain receives represent all people repenting their sins."

This story encourages knights to live honestly and never give up trying to improve in the qualities he believe in. And in general the author advises the readers to seek for truth and reminds them the suddenness of death and the final judgment in the Christian faith. That judgment can come upon you in your finest hour, in the midst of a party.


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