In his struggles to uphold his chivalric duties, Sir Gawain faithfully demonstrates the qualities of chivalry and fidelity until his honor is called into question by an unknown green knight that rides into the castle. Sir Gawain is King Arthur’s nephew and one of his most faithful knights. Although Gawain modestly refutes it, he has a reputation of being an honorable knight and courtly man. He prides himself on his adherence of the five parts of chivalry and is a pinnacle display of humility, piety, integrity, loyalty, and honesty that all other knights strive for. Though Gawain sits at the high table during the New Year’s celebration at Arthur’s court, he defines himself as the least of King Arthur’s knights in terms of both physical ability and mental aptitude.
Sir Gawain appears, as a real hero and a noble knight, almost from the very beginning of the poem when he is accepting the challenge of the Green Knight. No one is brave enough to accept the beheading game proposed by the Green Knight, and if no one of the knights will accept the challenge, then king Arthur has to accept it, so that he and his knights will not be regarded as cowards. Sir Gawain, as a noble knight who truly serves his king, takes the challenge upon himself when he says to the Arthur, " Would you grant me the grace"
It is important to remember that fight with the Green Knight was Gawain's first challenge; he was the youngest knight of King Arthur's court, a knight with no experience behind him. Gawain suffers for lying to the Green Knight (the third blow of an axe cuts Gawain's neck), and this experience influenced Gawain so much that he keeps and wears the belt as a reminder of his mistake even though everybody at the Arthur's court take this as a fashion statement when Gawain returns. Gawain looks and speaks in the way an ideal knight should look and speak. His clothes are regular for the knight; his speech, on the other hand, is somewhat distinct from other knights. He is the only knight that steps forward to save Arthur's honor and life in the stories of The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Moral code often dictates what you should do in situations, but it is up to each individual to live up to that moral code and choose to make virtuous decisions. As I face the challenge of leading a virtuous life, I am drawn back to the time of Sir Arthur and the Round Table. More specifically, I am intrigued by Sir Gawain. In the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I admire how Sir Gawain attempts to be virtuous, yet also empathize when he falls short of maintaining these virtues. Although Sir Gawain fails to maintain his virtues throughout the story, his continuous attempts to return to virtuous decisions makes him a virtuous person.
1. Sixth Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, & Co. 1993. 200-254. Bobr, Janet.
While Arthur seeks pleasure in hearing tales “of some fair feat” (92), the Green Knight undermines all formality known to be chivalrous challenging the king to a life risking game. With a “broad neck to buttocks” (137), (opposed to Arthur’s’ court depicted in the ever regal color red,) the Knight is clothed in green, the color of nature. He appears with no armor other then his faith, merely a utilitarian woodsman’s ax. While Green Knight is described like an animal who is said to have “wagged his beard” (306) yet understands the cyclical nature of life and truth of mans futility, it is only after Sir Gawain proclaims his lack of strength (though he says it at that point as a matter of chivalry) that he is able to ... ... middle of paper ... ...Gawain’s time in the wilderness, living nature, and his acceptance of the lady’s offering of the green girdle teach him that though he may be the most chivalrous knight in the land, he is nevertheless human and capable of error. Through jest of a game the Green knight enlightens Gawain the short sights of chivalry.
One reason for this is that challenges, unless dealt with, will follow you forever. An expample of this is the challenge that the Green Knight bestows upon Sir Gawain. He must find the Green Knight in a year and a day to have the Green Knight hit him with a weapon of his choosing. The author shows through the description of chivarly that if Sir Gawain were not hold up his end of the deal, the knights and the people of Camalot would be forever shamed by his presence. The author shows that challenges cannot be lefy alone, they must be faced straight on and dealt with.
Likewise, the character of Rama is one of moral strength and consciousness. He is noted, however, for his heroic ability to withstand temptation and human weakness and is portrayed heroically from the very beginning. His... ... middle of paper ... ...at the Council of Elrond to decide who will carry the ring. Almost unexplainably, Frodo steps up and says, "I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way." This is what it means to be a leader; understanding that though your life may be threatened, there is something more important at stake and sacrifices must be made.
There are forest-dwelling heroes, and householder heroes, and heroes in the honoring of guests. (Mahabharata XIII.74.22-27) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight encompasses every point brought out in the Mahabharata about what a hero truly is. Sacrifice is a quality that many persons choose to ignore. But Sir Gawain, throughout the book, magnified this virtue to its extent, even to the brink of death. When the Green Knight challenged the knights of King Arthur for a game, and King Arthur volunteered, it was Sir Gawain who stepped in.
M.H. Abrams et al. 7th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2000. 1156-1165.