Examples Of Illusion And Reality In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Illusion versus Reality

The middle ages were a time period consisting of a prominent code known as chivalry consisting of honor, nobility and demeanor. The most honorable of all were perceived to be the holy knights of the roundtable whose virtue was believed to surmount that of any other peasant. Knights were romanticized figures incapable of doing wrong. However the satire, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight completely shatters that preconceived notion. This story implements elements of fantasy and romance in order to deride the popular ideal of chivalry. One of the most prominent literary elements implemented in this novel is the use of juxtaposition and contrasts. Through the use of contrast and juxtaposition,
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The roundtable ignorantly turns Gawain’s symbol of shame and sin into a memento of pride and respect.
Contrasts are evident throughout this satire and allow the reader to clearly distinguish from appearance and reality. The illusions of characters are shattered throughout the course of this satire. The old lady of the castle provided the illusion of frailty but was in reality was in control of Gawain’s entire challenge. The young woman gave off the impression of an innocent mistress but in reality was attempting to derail him from fulfilling his wagers. The Green knight was initially perceived to be an all powerful immortal stranger, however his generosity was revealed in sparing Gawain’s life and his lack of power was revealed when he informed Gawain that he was a mere servant. The biggest illusion is illustrated by the knights of the roundtable who provide the illusion of an organization founded upon principles of chivalry. However it is revealed that they themselves are artificial and lack nobility when they wear the sinful green belt as a symbol of honor and lack the courage to accept the innocuous challenge presented by the Green Knight. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight shatter preconceived notions and provides the reader with a sense of contrast from appearance and reality through the use of magical elements and

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