Essay on Analysis Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

Essay on Analysis Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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“Culture does not make people. People make culture” said Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian writer and educator, in a presentation on feminism in a TedTalk. The culture in which Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written was misogynistic and it shows in the writing of the poem. Medieval cultural misogyny manifests itself in multiple ways in SGGK. This paper will examine the negative relationships between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and gender by discussing: the representation of female characters, gendered violence, and Christianity in the Middle Ages.
The characterization of women in SGGK actively marginalizes their importance in the poem. Although, in the case of Morgan le Fay, this marginalization is partially due to differences in respective time period’s cultural literacy—much of this active exclusion purposefully reduces female characters’ roles in order to reduce their perceived individualized importance in literature and society as a whole. All three of the main women’s roles are marginalized and reduced in importance, the entire plot of the poem rests on Morgan le Fay, who is introduced at the end of the play with a handful of lines, Lady Bertilak, who is reduced to how the men around her feel about her, and Guenevere, who is another extremely important character mentioned only in a few lines.
Morgan le Fay is the single most important character in SGGK. Even though she is an absolutely vital character, she is named exactly once. It is at the end of the poem that the Green Knight (Lord Bertilak) reveals to Sir Gawain that everything in the poem, from the main challenge to the smaller tests, was Morgan’s idea and should be credited to her ingenuity and magic (SGGK, l. 2445-2470). Part of this negligence in giving ...


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...ing Solomon’s symbol (619-665). Gawain further adheres to Christian morality by not allowing himself to have an affair with Lady Bertilak, a married woman who is not married to him.
The representation of female characters, gendered violence, and Christianity in the Middle Ages illustrate the negative relationship between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and gender. Although only one of these is active marginalization, “if there is never just one margin, there is never just one way to be marginalized” (Fisher 82). It is very important to examine the relationships with literature and its culture, as they reflect one another. Overall this poem is a symptom of cultural misogyny. In how they wrote the poem, the author contributes to the strength of the misogynistic culture. It is up to an individual—a writer, a spectator, a perpetrator—to either spread or stop prejudice.

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