Sir Gawain in Transition Essays

Sir Gawain in Transition Essays

Length: 1392 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Sir Gawain in Transition



Sir Gawain has played a significant role in Arthurian legends since the Middle Ages. His first major appearance in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight depicts Gawain as a warrior rather than a womanizing knight like others from King Arthur's court. Even in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain focuses on his battle with the green knight rather than the advances of Bercilak's wife. During Gawain's visit to Bercilak's castle, his wife makes three specific advances to entice Gawain into an adulteress relationship. Although Gawain faces certain death with the Green Knight, he declines any sexual involvement with Bercilak's wife. Gawain's character remains faithful to his warrior image by rushing into battle with the green knight rather than prolonging his stay at Bercilak's castle.

Although he exhibits this obsession with battle in many stories, Gawain's role changes drastically between his appearance in The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell and his later appearance in Howard Pyle's "The Story of King Arthur and His Knights." Although these stories employ similar plots, Gawain's character undergoes's a dramatic transformation.

In The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell Gawain reveals his loyalty to King Arthur by agreeing the marry the "Loathly" lady after she saves the king's life. This not the first appearance of the "loathly" lady in Medieval literature. In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the "Knight's Tale" reiterates the "familiar folklore motif [that] concerns the transformation of the ugly hag into a beautiful woman after a man has placed himself under her 'sovereynte'" and incorporates "the theme of A Riddle Asked and Answered" (Wilhelm 467). ...


... middle of paper ...


...en he learns to love the women he marries, Gawain argues with his new wife and then mutters "so be it" when confronted with her choice. Gawain refuses to learn from his mistakes in Pyle's story. In both Pyle's story and The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell, Gawain does not battle as he does with the green knight; instead, he marries and enters the marital war zone rather than those fought on the battlefield.

Bibliography

Lupack, Alan, ed. Modern Arthurian Literature. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992.

Vasta, Edward. "Chaucer, Gower, and the Unknown Minstrel: The Literary Liberation of the Loathly Lady." Exemplaria. 395-419.

Wilhelm, James J., ed. The Romance of Arthur. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994.

Web Text version of The Marriage of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell is at http://rodent.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/teams/ragnell.htm

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Social Tension and the Pantheistic Call back to Nature As illustrated in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”

- During the Medieval era in England, a time of religious and social change, the Catholic Church actively sought to out-root the pagan influences - or at least try - and introduce new cultural norms and understanding of nature and the environment. Paganism and it's pantheistic and animistic sub-parts defined pre-Christian England since man first inhabited the island. These ideas contrast strongly with the Christian “justifications for dominating nature” (Kline 3). “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” highlights this social/religious transition and conflict through the Green Knight and his juxtapositions throughout the tale with Sir Gawain....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Powerful Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about The Road Of Trials Of William Shakespeare 's Lord Of The Flies

- The next step in the departure is crossing the threshold. When Gawain left the castle, he crosses the first threshold into the unknown world. Crossing from Camelot to the realm of the unknown can be observed in this quote, "He had no friend but his horse in the forests and hills, no man on his march to commune with but God" (Tolkien 50). In addition, when Gawain entered the castle, a barrier was crossed from the trials of the outside journey to the trials faced in the castle. Furthermore, when he left the castle to go to the green chapel, a portal was transversed....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1392 words (4 pages)

Essay about Why Fantasy Appeals to Us

- Life is a quest. As living beings we are constantly being tested in our everyday lives, whether we are aware of it or not. This concept is what makes the quest in a Fantasy novel so appealing. As readers, we experience a journey of our own parallel to the quest of the protagonist. The physical and psychological growth and change of the main character not only affects them, but also influences our personal quest in life. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, the protagonists find themselves tested externally and internally....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Alice’s Adventure]

Powerful Essays
659 words (1.9 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- During the medieval time period, knighthood and chivalry were key concepts in literature. People considered knights the epitome of mankind, and everyone attempted to model his behavior after the knight code of chivalry. This led to the concepts of chivalry, such as honor, bravery, and acceptance of fate, becoming driving forces in many literary works. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight uses these chivalrous concepts to illustrate the main message of the poem. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the writer uses the green knight’s challenge, the green knight’s first attempt to ax Sir Gawain, and the green girdle to demonstrate that when times are tough, even the best people fail to do the right t...   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
988 words (2.8 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay examples

- Throughout the world, intriguing stories manifest within the minds of creative writers. One story that often captives the attention of many scholar’s would have to be “Sir Gawain the Green Knight,” which has been translated by J.R.R. Tolkien. During the epic poem, the reader travels to a time where chivalry is the way society functions morally and socially for the noble class. Although the setting of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is during medieval times, the primary focus is placed on the qualities of knighthood....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
782 words (2.2 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain—the lead character in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—has a hard time keeping his promise while his nobility is tested after he encounters the Lord on his trek to meet the Green Knight. He is depicted as a noble knight who is strong in faith and believes in sticking to his morals. In fact, Randy P. Schiff explains this in his article, Unstable Kinship: Trojanness, Treason, and Community in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, when he says that, “Displaying his mastery of courtly deference, Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight publicly defines himself through kinship” (Schiff 1)....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1215 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the story of a knight of Arthur’s round table who unbeknownst to him begins a supernatural game that will test his commitment to the chivalric code. The story written sometime around 1400 is an example of a medieval romance with a noble knight venturing forth to maintain the honor of himself and his court. Knights are supposed to be examples of chivalry and since chivalry is largely based upon the church, these same men must be examples for other Christians. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, while entertaining, also teaches readers one of the hardest lessons of Christianity, that to give into the temptations of this world is the one of the shortest ways to d...   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1082 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on The Ethics Of Sir Gawain

- The character, Sir Gawain is an interesting character. He has many different qualities both good and bad. Though he has bad qualities, his intentions behind them are completely innocent. His good qualities far outweigh his bad ones. He makes many decisions though not always the best ones. These decisions have lasting effects on other characters from the story. The ethics of sir Gawain are a main theme throughout the story. Sir Gawain has some interesting motives to his actions that are a focus in the beginning of the story....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1423 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Lines 1372-1453 from The Norton Anthology of English Literature Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written in the fourteenth century by an anonymous poet who was a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. The story was originally written in a Northern dialect. It tells the story of Sir Gawain's first adventure as a knight. This section of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight pertains to the agreement between Bercilak de Hautdesert, the host, and Gawain. Bercilak is to go hunting in the morning, while Gawain sleeps....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Free Essays
476 words (1.4 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Character Analysis of Sir Gawain "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell" is a medieval romance poem written by an anonymous author. Sir Gawain is one of the major characters in the poem. He is a very likable personality. Sir Gawain represents an ideal knight of the fourteenth century. Throughout the story, we see Sir Gawain portrayed as a very courteous and noble knight, always trying to help King Arthur. The characteristics of Sir Gawain like kindness, generosity and firmness are revealed from his actions....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1998 words (5.7 pages)