Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written in the late fourteenth century. Its author was unknown, but he or she was a contemporary of Chaucer. The poem consists of two plots: one is the challenge between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in a beheading game, and the other is the temptation of Sir Gawain by a lady from a beautiful castle. The outcome of the challenge as well as the life of Gawain is made to depend--though Gawain does not know it--on his behavior at the castle. The temptation is a test of chastity and honorable conduct towards a lord. The introduction of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight gives us a picture of King Arthur's kingdom. It describes the knights and the joy of all Arthur's people.

The poem begins and ends with the mention of the fall of Troy. It talks about the warriors who survived and settled in different areas of Europe:

Great Romulus to Rome repairs in haste;

With boast and with bravery builds he that city

And names it with his own name, that it now bears.

Ticius to Tuscany, and towers raises,

Langobard in Lombardy lays out homes,

And far over the French Sea, Felix Brutus

On many broad hills and high Britain he sets, most fair. (Norton 202)

(Aeneas rescuing his father from Troy)

Felix Brutus is the legendary founder of Britain, the great-grandson of the treacherous knight of Troy, Aeneas. Aeneas,from what I found from an outside source, says he is a traitor because he overthrows the king of Troy and negotiates with the enemy (the Achaeans) or Greeks who come into the city. Because of this, the Greeks let him and his family to safely leave the city.

In the second stanza, the author chooses to tal...

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...equality in a marriage because that is the only way that marriage can last forever. Unlike her "Prologue," the Wife of Bath's "Tale" describes balance in a marriage. A hag is married to a knight and she asks him if he wants her to be old, ugly and faithful or young, beautiful, and unfaithful. He tells her to choose, which gives her the sovereignty. The hag then turns into a beautiful woman, and they live happily ever after. Although in her "Tale," it shows that both people should be considerate of each other in a marriage, in her "Prologue," the Wife of Bath seems dominant instead of concerns for her husbands.

Citation

Abrams, M.H., The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Sixth Edition, Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., 1993

Edited by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon Sir Gawain and The Green Knight.Second Edition, Oxford University Press., 1967
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