The Noble Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The Noble Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

In the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," the protagonist, Gawain, illustrates deep down nobility and honesty to himself and everyone that he comes in contact with. Gawain is a good man whose only crime is berating himself all too much, therefore making both statements about him somewhat true true. Like every human he makes mistakes and must grow from them, yet for Gawain, a flaw is not acceptable and he believes that one failure makes him a failure to humanity and the lord. He is a very humble man, as all the knights are required to be, so when he makes a mistake he magnifies it and ignores the many virtues that he obtains. Therefore, the many peers of Gawain find it easy to congratulate him and praise him while Gawain will remain humble and true to himself. What Gawain must learn is that in order to be truly good, he must also know the bad.

An example of the never-ending praise that Gawain receives is from the Green Knight where he states, "Not many better men have walked this earth, been worth as much- like a pearl to a pea, compared to other knights" (p.120). Here the Green Knight is talking to Gawain explaining his valor and honor in comparison to the other Knights of the Round Table. This statement that the lord made is perfectly valid, yet Gawain again defers this praise and believes himself to be unworthy. In the entire court of King Arthur, Gawain was the only knight who was brave enough to take the challenge presented by the Green Knight. Also, he displayed his incredible loyalty to King Arthur when he was refusing to let King Arthur take the challenge without embarrassing him in front of all the guests. "Permit me to rise without discourtesy, and without displeasing your queen. Let me come to council you, here in your noble court" (p.58). Gawain believes it to be wrong that the King should take the challenge himself in his own walls. That example is perfect in exhibiting the truth behind the statement that Gawain, compared to the other knights is like a pearl to a pea. It is very clear that this statement by the lord is perfectly valid, even though Gawain would humbly reject such praise.

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