Sir Gawain - The Noble Knight Sir Gawain is a nephew of King Arthur and the brother of Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth. In the poem he is described by the author as "the good knight" and "most courteous" (1. 109,639). His character is shown through supernatural tests when he steps in for King Arthur and takes the challenge of the Green Knight on himself. Then his second test in the poem is to withstand the lust of the Green Knight's wife.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight As with so many stories written in the Middle Ages Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is filled with wonders, magic and knightly pursuit of fame and nobility. It combines folklore and romance as does, according to The Norton Anthology, no other known work. The character of the Green Knight fascinates and amuses. Most people would not think of it as an Arthurian-time creature. The Green Man in fact, is a part of an ancient folklore where the beheading of a green man would assure the return of spring next year.
His color, physical stature, power, and magic are astounding to the Knights of the Round Table. Only one knight dares to accept the challenge of this green giant. This is the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a fourteenth Century Arthurian romance by an anonymous poet. "Great wonder grew in hall/At his hue most strange to see,/For man and gear and all/Were green as green could be." (Norton, 161) Throughout this text, great emphasis is placed on the color green and the fact that great power is associated with the color.
However, when the Green Knight confronts him he does not cower before him. He raged as roaring gale; His followers felt the same. The King, not one to quail, To that cavalier then came. The Green Knight was described as a handsome, muscular man. Because every article of clothing the Green Knight wore was green, including his skin and hair, he is reminiscent of a fertility god.
He is noted for his green skin pigmentation and giant size: "One of the greatest on ground in growth of his frame: From broad neck to buttocks so bulky and thick" (161). The Green Knight is looked upon as "half a giant on earth" and highly regarded because of this. Arthur's court becomes amazed to see such a creature of such enormous size. The Green Knight's language is charming and abrupt when he asks firmly: "Where is the captain of this crowd? Keenly I wish to see that sire with sight, and to himself say my say" (163).
Beowulf vs. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In the worlds of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the journeys of two heroes, Beowulf and Sir Gawain, are depicted through the form of poems. The two stories have become two of the most important works of literature in the English history. In the two poems, both Beowulf and Sir Gawain face great challenges in their journeys as heroes. Beowulf embarks on a quest to defeat Grendel and his mother while Sir Gawain faces many difficulties on his search for the Green Knight. Although the main characters in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight exhibit many of the same characteristics, the two poems have stylistic differences and differ in societal values.
Sir Gawain and The Green Knight Text Analysis: Passages 203-278 Summary Sir Gawain and the Green Knight takes place early in the career of King Arthur. Young and naive, Arthur presides over a court that has great wealth and few problems. The Green Knight is a mysterious and magical character who presents a challenge to the pride and wealth of Arthur's kingdom. However, this challenge is not to the battle-strength of Arthur's court, but to its values. The Green Knight disrupts a Christmas celebration taking place in Camelot, and offers a contest: an exhange of ax-strokes.
The same is said of the Green Knight who is a combination of fertility and destruction. Written beautifully in the middle ages, the poem's elaborate descriptions of textiles such as clothing and armor, serve to emphasize the culture climate in which it was composed. The time dedicated to detail reflects the author's own societal values. Moreover, in a piece riddled with deceit and trickery, clothing is a tangible way to express character traits and add dimension to the plot. The story of Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight traverses from commencement to finality on a sea of symbolic trappings.
The Green Knight Calls! The passage in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, from line 203 to line 278, sets the stage for the rest of the poem by introducing the Green Knight's challenge to King Arthur. The haughty and reckless Green Knight rides into Arthur's court, demands the attention of the knights and issues a challenge to exchange blows with his axe. The Green Knight's axe is a symbol of the judgment that is to come to men at the end of their time in this world. The confidence possessed by the Green Knight in riding thus into Arthur's court, is later shown to be due to the enchantment put on him by Morgan Le Faye.