Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Sir Gawain And The Green Knight '

Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Sir Gawain And The Green Knight '

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The characteristics that heroes hold are highly influenced by the culture that they come from. In the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", the hero Gawain represents the Celtic culture and the views that the ancient Celts held for heroes. The characteristics that Gawain possesses are humble, focused, brave, loyal, virtuous, and religious. Within the poem, the trials that he undergoes, and the events in the journey that are faced are influenced immensely by the characteristics that he has, some Celtic cultural symbolism, as well as the steps of the hero 's journey.
Before addressing the hero 's journey, Celtic symbolism in the poem will be examined. In the Celtic culture, a vegetation god, otherwise known as the green man, relates to the green knight. The green man represents the themes of death and resurrection as well as life and creativity. Departure and rebirth in relation to the green knight can be seen in the stanza when he was beheaded by Sir Gawain and yet was able to still live. The green knight relates to this image of the vegetation god by his color and representing death and resurrection.
Other symbols of Celtic mythology in the poem relate to the animals that were hunted by Bertilak during the three day trial placed on Gawain. The first animal was a deer, in the culture this animal represents the mythological world, shape-shifting Gods, and woodland Gods. The next animal that was hunted was a boar and this animal represents the hunting prowess of the host. When this animal is served at a feast to a guest, the person is considered an honored guest. The boar also shows fertility, strength, hospitality, and masculine power. It is also often served at otherworldly feasts. Lastly, a fox was hunted. This animal symbol...


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...th Gawain can all act as threshold guardians. Although the green knight presented the call, he still tested Gawain 's ability before crossing the threshold into the unknown by presenting to him the beheading game. This trial tested Gawain 's stance as a knight. If he could not have successfully beheaded the green knight, then he would have been unable to set about the quest in the first place. Likewise, the porter is an overseer since at the castle he asked Bertilak if Gawain can enter the castle. The other guardian is the guide that was sent with Gawain to the green chapel. The chaperon helped test Gawain 's courage by offering him the chance to retreat from the task at hand. Part of the warning that the man presented to Gawain is, "He here has dwelt now long and stirred much strife on field; against his strokes so strong yourself you cannot shield" (Tolkien 105).

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