Men exemplify heroic qualities in both Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, however, women are depicted differently in the two stories. In Beowulf, women are not necessary to the epic, where as in Green Knight, women not only play a vital role in the plot, but they also directly control the situations that arise. Men are acknowledged for their heroic achievement in both stories, while the women's importance in each story differ. However, women are being equally degraded in both Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Sir Gawain has played a significant role in Arthurian legends since the Middle Ages. His first major appearance in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight depicts Gawain as a warrior rather than a womanizing knight like others from King Arthur's court. Even in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain focuses on his battle with the green knight rather than the advances of Bercilak's wife. During Gawain's visit to Bercilak's castle, his wife makes three specific advances to entice Gawain into an adulteress relationship. Although Gawain faces certain death with the Green Knight, he declines any sexual involvement with Bercilak's wife. Gawain's character remains faithful to his warrior image by rushing into battle with the green knight rather than prolonging his stay at Bercilak's castle.
In Chrétien de Troyes' Ywain, women represent the moral virtue and arch of all mid-evil civilization. Women of this time had to be an object of love, which meant they had to have beauty, goodness, and be truthful. They had to be a representative of all chivalrous ideals. They also act as civilizing influences throughout the story. Women are put in the story to give men a reason for acting brave and noble. Men become knights in order to demonstrate to women that they are strong and capable of defending themselves against danger. This, they hope, will win the women's heart.
Furthermore, Sir Gawain represents the chivalrous social codes of knights by protecting women. To illustrate, he rescues a sophisticated lady from an enraged king. After Arthur retreats from the quest to save the maiden, Gawain swoops in and single-hardly gets her to safety as he defeats the king and his armed forces (Joe). In this story, he defends the damsel from doom. In addition, Gawain lets his wife decide on a choice. After they got married, his wife asks him if he wants her beauty to show in the day or night, and Gawain allows her to choose (Joe). In this way, he is preserving her own will. Besides those two examples, Gawain also keeps women safe when he lifts a curse off the shoulders of the suffering ladies. In one tale, maidens are
Changing Women's Roles in The Epic of Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Canterbury Tales
Though women in the medieval times are usually helpless and submissive, there are some women who exercise their power, providing a challenge into the stereotypical image of women. Morgan le Fay and Lady Bertilak from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are examples of the women that challenged the stereotypical behavior of women in the medieval period. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is about how Sir Gawain, one of the knight from King Arthur’s Round Table, accepts a challenge from the mysterious Green Knight who challenges any knight to strike him with his axe and he will return the blow in a year. Gawain beheads the Green Knight easily, but the Green Knight
In the final scenes of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain’s encounter with Sir Bertilak allows Gawain to perceive his own flaws, manifested in his acceptance of the Green Girdle. The court’s reaction to his personal guilt highlights the disconnect between him and the other knights of the Round Table. Gawain’s behavior throughout the poem has been most noteworthy; his understanding of his sin, one that many of us would dismiss since it was propelled by his love of life, enhances his stature as a paragon of chivalry.
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the men and women appear to have different roles in the society. The men attempt to live a more noble life while emasculating the power of the women. Throughout the poem, women display hints of their potential through manipulation and trickery, traits that are uneasily recognized by men as growing power.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Element of Literature, Sixth Course. Austin: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1997. 161-172. Print.
In Gordon M. Shedd’s “Knight in Tarnished Armour: The Meaning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, he argues that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is truly about the strength and weaknesses of human nature. One particularly interesting part of his argument asserts that Gawain’s humanity broke medieval romance tradition.
The greatest part of these studies have involved the middle-English text Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Extensive work has been done on this alliterative four-part poem written by an anonymous contemporary of Chaucer: feminists have attacked his diatribe against women at the end, or analyzed the interaction between Gawain and the women of Bercilak’s court; those of the D. W. Robertson school seek the inevitable biblical allusions and allegory concealed within the medieval text; Formalists and philologists find endless enjoyment in discovering the exact meaning of certain ambiguous and archaic words within the story. Another approach that yields interesting, if somewhat dated, results, is a Psychological or Archetypal analysis of the poem. By casting the Green Knight in the role of the Jungian Shadow, Sir Gawain’s adventure to the Green Chapel becomes a journey of self-discovery and a quest - a not entirely successful one - for personal individuation.
“Culture does not make people. People make culture” said Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian writer and educator, in a presentation on feminism in a TedTalk. The culture in which Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written was misogynistic and it shows in the writing of the poem. Medieval cultural misogyny manifests itself in multiple ways in SGGK. This paper will examine the negative relationships between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and gender by discussing: the representation of female characters, gendered violence, and Christianity in the Middle Ages.
When I observe literature works of Medieval and Renaissance period, a man success is determine by the roles of women. I heard a famous quote say "behind a great man there is a amazing woman". As I examine literature works, in the Medieval time of "Sir Gawain and Green Knight "and the Renaissance period of The Faerie Queene of Book I. We have two extraordinary Christian like figures Sir Gawain and Red Crosse who represent Christianity in their respectably time period . Both men endured several tests and have sinned against God. While these men were in the mist of their downfall, they had significant woman who guided them along way to find Christ again. I will view the roles of women like Lady Bertilak of Sir Gawain and Una of the Red Crosse