Karma in Sir Gawain and Madame Ragnelle

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It is oftentimes believed that when one does honorable deeds out of his goodwill, he or she will be rewarded with wonderful things in exchange. The concept of karma, or the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished according to that person's deeds, can also be seen in this idea. The myth of “Sir Gawain and Madame Ragnelle” sets off with the adventure of King Arthur and Sir Gawain which leads them to a situation that Sir Gawain needs to self-sacrifice himself. Thus, his beneficence rewarded him with the transformation of Madame Ragnelle in the end that gives him great happiness. Through the myth’s archetypal characters of hero, villain and outcast and the story’s binary oppositions of “good versus evil”, “beauty versus. ugliness”, and “imposition versus free-will”, it will be debated that “Sir Gawain and Madame Ragnelle” depicts the benevolence and altruism of a hero which steers him to his endowment of an extraordinary prize in return.

Besides using the new criticism to critique “Sir Gawain and Madame Ragnelle”, structuralism can further analyze the text. Therefore, in studying the myth, two techniques will be utilized. The first one is the scrutiny of the archetypes, or the term used to describe universal symbols that evoke deep and unconscious responses in a reader, present in the story. Another is the assessment of the binary oppositions or a pair of opposites, thought to powerfully form and organize human thought and culture. Through structuralism, the theme of the story will be further identified.

Gromer Somer Joure or the Black Knight and Lady Modren represent the archetypal villains. The villain is the antagonist in the story whose main purpose is to cause dilemmas for the protago...

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...th a stunning maiden that he later on experience great happiness with. He does not expect this when he marries Madame Ragnelle in the start. This shows the concept of karma or committing good deeds without expecting anything in return; one will certainly get superb things back. This paper is able to peruse the theme through the structuralism concepts. Through the utilization of the archetypal hero, villain and outcast and the analysis of the binary oppositions of “good versus evil”, “imposition versus free-will”, and “beauty versus ugliness”, the critic is able to reveal how the hero, Sir Gawain, with his altruism and benevolence steers him to his bestowal of an exceptional prize, Madame Ragnelle. Like what is written in the Rig Veda, “One should, perform karma with nonchalance without expecting the benefits because sooner or later one definitely gets the fruits.”

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