Though Gawain sits at the high table during the New Year’s celebration at Arthur’s court, he defines himself as the least of King Arthur’s knights in terms of both physical ability and mental aptitude. Gawain continually seeks to better improve his inner self throughout the story. His only known flaw proves to be his love to preserve his own life, so much that he will sacrifice his honor in order to save himself. When the Green Knight arrives at Camelot, he challenges Arthur’s court, mocking the knights for being afraid of mere words, and suggesting that words and appearances hold too much power with them. Although the Green Knight basically tricks Gawain, by not telling him about his supernatural capabilities before asking him to agree to his terms, Gawain refuses to withdraw of their agreement.
The code both military and Christian ideals. Men were expected to be modest, loyal, and uphold the honor of his kingdom. The code in, other terms, was an instruction manual on how to be perfect. Anything short of the code would result in a dishonorable knight. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is embedded with symbolism which conveys an underlining message that while mankind may not be perfect, God’s grace shall forgive those who recognize their faults.
It takes a mild rebuke by the Green Knight to crack Gawain’s façade of confident valor. His conscience compels him to break down when confronted by his host as to his indiscretion. However, this happened only when the host had revealed himself to be the same as the Green Knight. We realize that Gawain had previously perceived in Sir Bertilak an equal in knighthood; thus his ease in deceiving him in the exchange of winnings game. When Gawain realizes he was the subject of a test, he sees Bertilak/Green Knight in a different light.
He says "I am the weakest, well I know, and of wit feeblest; / and the loss of my life [will] be least of any" (Sir Gawain, l. 354-355). To continue on testing a knight that does not seem worthy certainly will not result in much of a story, or in establishing a theme. Through the use of symbols, the author of Sir Gawain is able to show that Gawain possesses the necessary attributes to make him worthy of being tested. He also uses symbols throughout the tests of each individual attribute, and in revealing where Gawain’s fault lies. The effective use of these symbols enables the author to integrate the test of each individual attribute into a central theme, or rather one overall test, the test of chivalry.
He goes to show the courage in the code. He does not want his kingdom to be acknowledged as cowardly. He breaks the code of honesty when he lies to the king. He did not remain loyal to his kingdom, nor to himself when he accepted the belt and when he uses the belt to save his own life, he abandons the concept of courage. While he may have broken certain aspects of the code, he did stick by some.
The question arises as to the author’s meaning of constant. It is obvious that it does not mean that Gawain is constant in his moral decisions, as he just made an unethical decision. It also wouldn’t mean that he is determined or steadfast, for he just caved in to h... ... middle of paper ... ...ly a minor sin though; when the truth about the Green Knight is revealed, Sir Gawain is repentant, and his penance is served through the knick of Bertilak’s axe. Though technically Gawain fails the test when he gives into the lady’s temptations, he does well enough to pass in God’s eyes. As mentioned before, Sir Gawain is forgiven by God, as shown by the healing of the axe wound.
The Ideal Knight In examining the ideal knighthood as presented in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is conveyed by showing modesty, faithfulness, honor, loyalty, and respect as an individual. The additional knights are portrayed as manly only with weapons and armor. I view an ideal knight to be distinguished, brave and courageous. Sir Gawain expresses that knights should be "" (line ). Sir Gawain demonstrates his responsibilities as a knight by showing the some of the key examples of an ideal knight.
This statement that the lord made is perfectly valid, yet Gawain again defers this praise and believes himself to be unworthy. In the entire court of King Arthur, Gawain was the only knight who was brave enough to take the challenge presented by the Green Knight. Also, he displayed his incredible loyalty to King Arthur when he was refusing to let King Arthur take the challenge without embarrassing him in front of all the guests. "Permit me to rise without discourtesy, and without displeasing your queen. Let me come to council you, here in your noble court" (p.58).
God shows grace to King Arthur and his knights by giving them life. The Green Knight could have challenged the men to a duel or fought to the death but instead challenged their courage and nobility. “ That he dares to stoutly exchange one stroke for another… And I will abide the first blow, bare-neck as I sit” ( The Gawain Poet 67,70.233). The Green Knight was testing the men seeing if all the gossip about how great King Arthur and his men were was true but, no knight took the challenge until King Arthur stepped up. That’s when Sir Gawain politely asked the king if he could take his place.
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.