The Character of Sir Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Da
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The Character of Sir Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell
In the Authorain legend, Sir Gawain has great nobility, honesty, loyalty and chivalry. Sir Gawain is the nephew of King Arthur and a member of the king's elite Round Table. In the texts of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell," Gawain is portrayed as a hero who exemplifies the characteristics of an honorable knight. He is viewed by many in King Arthur's court as a noble man who is loyal to the king, and who will sacrifice his own life to protect his lord. Sir Gawain represents an ideal knight of the fourteenth century.
Sir Gawain's inner values and character are tested to the fullest and are clearly defined in the text of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The unknown author describes Gawain and the other knights as "Many good knights" (Norton 159), and he is referred to as one of the "most noble knights" (Norton 159) in King Arthur's land. This claim by the author is solidified by a challenge presented by the evil Green Knight, who enters the court of King Arthur and asks him to partake in a Christmas game. Sir Gawain, after hearing this challenge, asks the king if he may take his place. This represents that Gawain is very loyal to his king. Sir Gawain is also an honest knight in the text because in a year's time he ventures out in search of the Green Knight to endure a blow with the ax as the rules of the game were stated. He very easily could have not have carried out his end of the bargain by not traveling to the Green Chapel to meet the evil being, but Gawain is an honest knight who is true to his word.
Another trait of Gawain that is tested in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is his loyalty. While in search of the Green Chapel where he must face the Green Knight, Sir Gawain is tested by the lady of the castle he is lodging at. The lady tries to seduce Gawain, but he does not fall into her trap by sleeping with her. Instead, Sir Gawain remains loyal to the lord of the castle whom he has promised to be honest with, and the lady describes him as the "noblest knight alive.