An Analysis Of Sir Gawain Exposed: An Unchivalrous Knight

An Unchivalrous Knight: Sir Gawain Exposed In the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Poet Pearl, Sir Gawain, knight of the Round Table, acts chivalrously, yet his intents are insincere and selfish. It is the advent season in Middle Age Camelot, ruled by King Arthur when Poet Pearl begins the story. In this era citizens valued morals and expected them to be demonstrated, especially by the highly respected Knights of the Round Table. As one of Arthur’s knights, Sir Gawain commits to behaving perfectly chivalrous; however, Gawain falls short of this promise. Yes, he acts properly, but he is not genuine. The way one behaves is not enough to categorize him as moral; one must also be sincere in thought. Gawain desires to be valued as…show more content…
While Gawain fails to accept the truth about his immoral identity, he also fails to maintain a sincere and truthful relationship with God. Camelot believes that Gawain is a perfectly chivalrous and Catholic knight, when in actuality he is an actor with an impure thought. Gawain is driven by selfish motives; he only considers what is best for him and as a result, uses God as a vehicle to get what he wants. Gawain acknowledges God when he desires comfort and “crosses himself, and cries on Christ in his great need,” of a castle (761-761). Likewise, Gawain prays when he wants protecting; his shield, decorated with the highly symbolic Pentangle and Virgin Mary, is the ultimate Holy accessory for his battle. Gawain only regards God when he is either wishing for comfort or for safety. Furthermore, Gawain strays from Catholicism completely by expecting the green sash to save him in the fight. Believing that the magical Pagan article will truly redeem him, demonstrates fear and proves Gawain lacks faith in God. Gawain lacks morals when abandoning Catholicism for a Pagan artifact, and when he does pray to God his spiritual motives are impure and…show more content…
He is not brave, selfless, chivalrous, or noble; with an immoral thought he only performs great acts in front of an audience. Knights are supposed to be fearless warriors, Gawain contradicts that stereotype. Once Gawain ventures towards the green chapel, he is overcome by fear. However, fear of death is not of the essence. When his escort offers to help him avoid the fight, Gawain had already obtained the green sash; he fights knowing he will not die. Gawain fears his kingdom will recognize his lack of pure motive and moral courage if he abandons the game, concerned that if he “forsook this place for fear, and fled,” Camelot will find out he is “a caitiff coward” who “could not be excused” for his lack of inner-chivalry (2130-2131). He does not go to the fight to prove he is chivalrous; his impure motive is to hide his immoral nature from

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