Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Gawain Finds The Green Knight's Castle

PASSAGE ANALYSIS

LINES 763-841

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an Arthurian story about the first adventure of Sir Gawain (King Arthur's nephew). The author and date of this romance are not exactly known but may be dated circa 1375-1400, because the author seems to be a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. From the very start of the story, the author gives a grand introduction for Arthur and his court, and then Arthur's men are described as "bold boys" (line 21) which means that they are brave, but only boys. If they are so brave why then did the author not describe them as men? Chaucer uses this kind of irony to describe his characters in "The General Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer made no direct judgements on his characters in the "General Prologue," nor does the unknown author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. This particular passage (lines 763-841) from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight deals primarily with Gawain, Arthur's most courteous and well-mannered knight, finding the castle of the Green Knight, whose name is Bercilak, and then there is a lengthy description given of the castle. Gawain is on a journey to find the Green Knight almost one year later. He promised to take his hits from the Green Knight. The most important item in this passage is the description of the castle. Bercilak's castle is well protected and similar to other castles during this period. This castle is unlike others, however, because it is magical and because of its symbolism.

Castles in the Middle Ages

A Summary of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Analysis of Passage

In this particular passage, Gawain is a knight who is on a journey with deep faith in his religion. This is expressed through his fervent prayers to Christ and Mary. No one is here to help him except God who he speaks to and asks to hear mass on Christmas Eve. He humbles himself "meekly before God" in the snow and cold. His prayers are then answered immediately. Bercilak's castle appears out of nowhere, green with trees and grass as if it were springtime. It is almost as if the castle were provided for Gawain by God. He is at Bercilak's court, but of course, does not know this until the end. After praying, he crosses himself three times and then this grand estate appears before him like magic.
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