Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Sir Gawain

Part of the essence of drama is conflict. A man cannot be considered a hero unless he has overcome some form of opposition. In many cases, this opposition comes in the form of another character. Typically, the conflict is simplified as a malignant character with wicked intentions committing acts which would be characterized as evil; the protagonist opposes this villain and usually overcomes that character, winning the day and the admiration of all. Sometimes, the main character becomes a hero by overcoming some force within his or her own self. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, this is ultimately what Gawain must do in order to be considered a hero.

Sir Gawain is originally faced with the challenge of the Green Knight. The Green Knight appears in King Arthur's court and causes a disturbance, issuing an open invitation to all in the court "to strike one stroke for another" (Norton, line 287) with his strong, sturdy, and finely-crafted axe as the prize. This test appears simple enough, and it puts Gawain into a straightforward, short-term conflict with the Green Kni...
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