Lord Gawain And The Green Knight Essays

Lord Gawain And The Green Knight Essays

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In Gordon M. Shedd’s “Knight in Tarnished Armour: The Meaning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, he argues that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is truly about the strength and weaknesses of human nature. One particularly interesting part of his argument asserts that Gawain’s humanity broke medieval romance tradition.
Shedd’s central argument is that Sir Gawain’s true conflict is internal; it is with the duality of his own humanity. He starts by explaining that “man stands midway between the angels and the animals, partaking of both natures” (Shedd 245). According to Shedd, no man is truly capable of perfection until he can understand this concept. This is why Gawain does not undergo a typical romantic tale of success; he experiences moral challenges and he even fails; because he is flawed, and because he is human. For the first part of the poem, the scene is set as a traditional romance, but, according to Shedd, as the story progresses it becomes less and less a conventional romance, and more a universal poem on human nature. While Gawain manages to retain his courage and optimism...

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