Essay Gawaian as a Chivaltric Hero

Essay Gawaian as a Chivaltric Hero

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Chivalric heroes, unlike the epic heroes in stories such as Beowulf, do more than fight to protect their people; they go out of their way in order to look for a test to prove their strength, to fight for their morals and ideals, and to keep their word to prove their loyalty and honor. Gawain, from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, embodies all of the traits that qualify him to be a chivalric hero.
According to the website Luminarium, “the virtues of a chivalric hero are similar to those of his epic counterpart—valor, generosity, loyalty, honor, and skill in battle—however, the sense given to 'loiautee,' loyalty, at this period is more intricate and more significant”, and we see the depth of Gawain’s loyalty and courage early on in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Jokinen). While the Green Knight challenges a room full of Knights, Gawain is the only one to come forth and put his life on the life, for no reason other than to prove his worth, to take responsibility for his duty, and to spare his King. Gawain states that “I am the weakest of warriors and feeblest of wit; / loss of my life would be least lamented”, when in fact, he becomes the only true knight in the story (“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” 193). During the Middle Ages, the Knights seated around the table should have been falling over themselves to stand up and protect their King and to prove their worth and yet Gawain was the only one who took the challenge, regardless of what it would cost him in the end. There is nothing more courageous than offering one’s own life to spare someone else’s, and nothing less should have been expected from a Knight.
A major factor in being considered a chivalric hero is honor. Gawain proves to honor his word in searching for the ...

... middle of paper ...

..., for which my neck bears the scar; / a sign of my fault and offence and failure, / of the cowardice and covetousness I came to commit” (“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” 237). This is a lesson that Gawain learned throughout his journey, and because of this and his humility, he was able to come out of his adventure with a newfound appreciation for his actions and their consequences; something that any hero must be able to do.

Works Cited
Abels, Dr. Richard. “Medieval Chivalry.” The United States Naval Academy. n.d. Web. 19 February 2014.
Jokinen, Anniina. "Heroes of the Middle Ages." Luminarium. 23 February 1998. Web. 18
February 2014.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume 1. 9th ed. Ed.
Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. 186-238. Print.

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