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Temptation and Survival in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Temptation and Survival in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain faces choices as part of the Green Knight's game. The game is not the simple exchange of axe blows as it appears to be. It is actually a game of temptation and rule-breaking. In the end, Gawain fails this test given by the Green Knight and King Arthur's half-sister.

When the Green Knight arrogantly rode into King Arthur's domain, he showed no respect for the celebrated knights. He rudely laughed away the praise he had heard of King Arthur as "the praise of you, prince, is puffed up so high" (Norton Anthology 1465). He also ridiculed the knights as they hesitated to accept his challenge. Gawain eventually accepted the challenge, but didn't fully understand what the test would actually be. In what was probably a rage of protecting King Arthur's honor, Sir Gawain chopped off the Green Knight's head and began the game. King Arthur's soldier didn't understand that this would be a game of rule following instead of a match determining warrior skills.

The Green Knight is a charac...
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