Paganism and Christianity’s Roles in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Gawain’s belief by the end of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is that he has failed—in honesty, fidelity, and faith. As a representative of an ideal Christian whose priority is to remain godly (and knightly), he sees the outcome of his quest quite differently than the Green Knight. The Green Knight also prizes honesty, though not always at the cost of life, a view not necessarily shared by Gawain. Strangely enough, King Arthur’s court, ideally as devout as Gawain, sees Gawain’s small human flaws not as a failure (as Gawain does) but as an overall achievement—he returned to court alive and bravely kept his word to the Green Knight. Considering these three points of view, one may wonder if the author is suggesting that the pagan Green Knight’s emphasis on life and humanness is more sensible than Gawain’s pursuit of godliness.
In every great work of literature, archetypes appear throughout the story, playing a key role in helping the audience understand the story. Examples of these archetypes are the boon, the magic weapon, and the refusal of the call. Archetypes like these help us capture what the story seems to really be about. In the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight of Camelot must go on a quest to keep the value of his home, Camelot. During this quest, he seeks a green knight to chop off his head; however after this quest, he discovers that the green knight was not really his enemy but, the one that would change him.
He warns Gawain to not risk his life by going to the Green Chapel, and promises him that he will conceal everything. However, Gawain must face the Green Knight and face the hit, because he is noble, worthy, and courageous. He is not a coward. He says to the guide, "But though you never told the tale, if I turned back... ... middle of paper ... ...reen belt has magical protection and can save his life. Gawain's failure shows that he too is human and has faults.
The Green Knight forces Gawain to realize his flaws as a man, but when the Green Knight catches him it isn 't a very worthy game because he traps him solely on the means that he lied to Bertilak. He also draws the lines between Christianity and Paganism by showing how the two ideologies from their points of worship. Christianity focus on God only and give thanks to him for the blessings while Pagans worship nature and give credit to the Earth for the blessings that the people receive. The Green Knight 's role is to show the difference not only between Gawain and him but also the two major religions of the time period. In Gawain and the Green Knight, the poet used the narrative to point out how Gawain was the embodiment of what it was to be Christian but also show that he wasn 't perfect.
Vol. D. Ed. Leffelholz, Mary. New York: Norton & Company, 2007. 2036.