What Is The Code Of Chivalry In Sir Gawain

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Naudia Daniels Essay 2 Professor Lou Bell April 10, 2014 The Code of Chivalry: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight The unidentified author of the epic power, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, enlivens the personality of Sir Gawain. Gawain is a knight of King Arthur’s court, whom sacrifices himself by accepting the game of the Green Knight. As the adventures of the story progress, Gawain learns, evolves and demonstrates his own chivalric traits. Though, along the way he makes mistakes, he is determine to be nothing less than loyal, courageous and courteous. The code of chivalry Gawain attempts to live up to, is represented in actions of loyalty, courage and courtesy (which he is to King Arthur, Guinevere, and God). Aspects of the chivalry code derives predominantly from “traditional warrior rules (cf. Homer); others are Christian additions, aiming for ideal of a noble gentlemanly warrior” (Black 2) The action of showing these particular qualities defined a true knight. Knights had to meet the expectation of being loyal to the king or overload who had appointed them as a knight. In addition, they had to be loyal to “their lady”- who was usually the wife of the King but also could have been the wife or love interest of the knight as well. Along with these expectations of loyalty, the loyalty to God was most relevant. Knights were also to meet the expectations of courageousness in all situations. They were to be courteous to all as well, regardless of status. Sir Gawain displays his loyalty to King Arthur from the beginning to the end of this story. As he accepted the challenge of the Green Knight at Arthur’s castle. Even when it came for the other knights to decide, so Gawain could attain their judgment, they concluded “their King can sta... ... middle of paper ... ...nd she persuades him “so relenting at last he let her speak, and promptly she pressed him to take the present, and he granted her wish, and she gave with good grace, though went on to beg him not to whisper a world to her husband, and Gawain agreed” (Sir Gawain 3, 1859-1863) With the determination to live up to all expectation of the code of chivalry, Sir Gawain learns that no man could do so, because man is imperfect. Event occurring throughout the poem, “prove that Gawain’s aspiration to have been impossibly high”. (Anderson 350) His flaws are shown “in his mortality (hiding the girdle) and in his physical courage (flinching).” (Black 2) Though, Gawain fails live up to every chivalrous expectation perfectly, the standard he did meet makes him one of the most chivalrous knights characterized in literature. A knight of loyalty, courage and courtesy, as it should be.
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