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Symbols and Symbolism in Sir Gawain and Green Knight

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Symbolism in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Symbolism is a literary technique used in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to liven up the story and give a deeper significance to the plot.  Almost anything in the poem can be interpreted as a symbol in one way or another.  The Green Knight, the green sash, and Sir Gawain's shield are three of the most prominent symbols presented to us in this author's tale.



            The Green Knight, this poem's antagonist, serves as a symbol himself.  He is not only portrayed as evil, but a mixture of the familiar and foreign, nature and synthetic, and divine and damned origin.  His large stature can be interpreted as threatening or powerful.  His green glow could be nature-associated or alien-associated.  The first time he appears in the poem, he is even carrying a holly-branch (signifying peace) in one hand and a battle axe (signifying conflict) in the other.  It's hard to say exactly for what the Green Knight stands, because f...

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