The Green Knight Calls! Essays

The Green Knight Calls! Essays

Length: 836 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Green Knight Calls!

The passage in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, from line 203 to line 278, sets the stage for the rest of the poem by introducing the Green Knight's challenge to King Arthur. The haughty and reckless Green Knight rides into Arthur's court, demands the attention of the knights and issues a challenge to exchange blows with his axe. The Green Knight's axe is a symbol of the judgment that is to come to men at the end of their time in this world. The confidence possessed by the Green Knight in riding thus into Arthur's court, is later shown to be due to the enchantment put on him by Morgan Le Faye. The Green Knight's confidence and his challenges to the court create a caricature of the bravery of knighthood and excessive pride is indeed the excess that this cautionary tale warns against. Sir Gawain meets the challenge but his actions show that even the bravest knight must not be too proud or sure of himself.

The Green Knight's Challenge!

The scene begins with the continuing description of the Green Knight as one who had come with "no helm, nor hauberk neither." The Green Knight has no helmet or armor. In his hands are a holly branch and an enormous green axe. The axe is described as having a head an ell in length. An ell is equivalent to forty-five inches. This is no ordinary axe. He claims that the branch shows he comes in peace but the axe belies his deadly mission. Although his green color may symbolize rebirth and the coming of spring, surely the axe is reminiscent of the executioner and the coming day of judgment.
The Green Knight rides directly up to the dais and demands the audience of the "captain of this crowd." At this point, no one has addressed him or tried to stop him. Surely go...


... middle of paper ...


...th. That judgment can come upon you in your finest hour, in the midst of a party. Sir Gawain ultimately learns the lesson that men must be mindful of their pride. Although he almost completely resists the temptations set before him by the Green Knight, he does falter slightly, although only for fear of his own life. He thus realizes that the flesh is weak, even in the most noble of men. He takes on the belt that saves his life as a symbol to remind himself of his own weakness. He becomes wiser for having faced death because he realizes that symbols, like the green belt he wears, like the cross of Christ, can be powerful reminders of lessons and ideas forgotten in the rush of daily life and human vanity.

Credits

"Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" The Norton Anthology of English Literature.
Sixth Edition. Vol. 1. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York: Norton 1993 202-254

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Gawain's Encounter with the Green Knight in the Green Chapel Essay

- Gawain's Encounter with the Green Knight in the Green Chapel Even though little is known about the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, it is considered to be one of the greatest romances of all time. The poem tells the story of one of Arthur's noblest and most courageous knights, Sir Gawain, who is in search of the Green Chapel: "Sir Gawain ingeniously combines two plots, common in folklore and romance, although not found together elsewhere: the beheading contest, in which two parties agree to an exchange of blows with a sword or an ax, and the temptation, an attempted seduction of the hero by a lady" (Norton 200)....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Better Essays
1563 words (4.5 pages)

Analysis Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay examples

- Honor, or reputation, is something that humans have been worried about throughout history, albeit some people more than others. Although bringing dishonor on someone’s name or family seemed to have more repercussions back in the older day, it is still something that people try to avoid doing. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (the author is unknown but referred to as the Pearl Poet) honor was an important factor as well. The story tells of a knight named Sir Gawain who has been challenged to a beheading game by a mysterious green knight....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Better Essays
1072 words (3.1 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight : Illusion Versus Reality Essay

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Illusion versus Reality The middle ages were a time period consisting of a prominent code known as chivalry consisting of honor, nobility and demeanor. The most honorable of all were perceived to be the holy knights of the roundtable whose virtue was believed to surmount that of any other peasant. Knights were romanticized figures incapable of doing wrong. However the satire, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight completely shatters that preconceived notion. This story implements elements of fantasy and romance in order to deride the popular ideal of chivalry....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Better Essays
1494 words (4.3 pages)

Code of Chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Lanval, and Beowulf

- Code of Chivalry The code of Chivalry can be described as a brave, loyal, courteous, distinguished courage or ability that is admired for their brave and noble qualities. Chivalry is a system of ethical ideals that arose from feudalism and had its highest development in the 12th and 13th centenry.(Columbia ElectronicEncyclopedia).Respect is an essential part of chivalry. The code of chivalry is a set of rules followed by the knights during the middle ages. The evolution of heroic and chivalry code has changed over time beginning from the Middle ages to now....   [tags: respect, knight, rules]

Better Essays
972 words (2.8 pages)

Essay Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Passage Analysis of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In this passage, we find ourselves in King Arthur's court during a Christmas feast. A Green Knight has just proposed a challenge before the court, a game in which a blow for a blow shall be given. Seeing that no one is willing to accept this challenge, King Arthur himself steps up to the Green Knight, ready to defend his honor. Sir Gawain, being a noble knight, asks the court if he can replace King Arthur in the game. His wish is granted. The passage begins as King Arthur calls Sir Gawain to his side to give him his weapon and blessing....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Free Essays
925 words (2.6 pages)

Free Essays - Holy Feast and Holy Fast and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Forbidden Fruit in Holy Feast and Holy Fast and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight    The forbidden fruit, its properties, and its affects, has vast ramifications within the ethics of the women in Holy Feast and Holy Fast. as well as those of the characters portrayed in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 2. Perhaps the connection is less obvious with Gawain. It must be realized that this story contains multi-leveled metaphors which approach modern literature in their complexity. Argument will be made that Gawain betrays an isomorphism with Eden's tale....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Free Essays
2484 words (7.1 pages)

Essay on Paganism and Christianity’s Roles in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Paganism and Christianity’s Roles in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Gawain’s belief by the end of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is that he has failed—in honesty, fidelity, and faith. As a representative of an ideal Christian whose priority is to remain godly (and knightly), he sees the outcome of his quest quite differently than the Green Knight. The Green Knight also prizes honesty, though not always at the cost of life, a view not necessarily shared by Gawain. Strangely enough, King Arthur’s court, ideally as devout as Gawain, sees Gawain’s small human flaws not as a failure (as Gawain does) but as an overall achievement—he returned to court alive and bravely kept his word to the Gr...   [tags: Christianity Sir Gawain The Green Knight Essays]

Better Essays
2345 words (6.7 pages)

Sir Gawain & The Green Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight A knight rides into the hall dressed entirely in green. The knight is large, well- dressed, and imposing, but he does not wear armor nor carry a shield. Rather, he holds some holly in one hand and a huge ax in the other. The Green Knight, without first introducing himself, demands to speak with whoever is the head of the court. King Arthur answers the Green Knight’s call to the head of the company and asks him to dismount and eat. However, the Knight refuses, saying that he does not intend to stay....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1255 words (3.6 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In the fourteenth century, an unknown author wrote Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and now this poem is one thought to be of the finest Arthurian romance that belongs to the Alliterative Revival. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a story about many complicated issues, and mainly it concentrates on the character of Gawain who is one of the best knights in Arthur’s kingdom. The action takes place when Arthur is still young and enjoys big celebrations in Camelot....   [tags: Canterbury Tales Essays]

Free Essays
880 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

- Sir Gawain and The Green Knight Text Analysis: Passages 203-278 Summary Sir Gawain and the Green Knight takes place early in the career of King Arthur. Young and naive, Arthur presides over a court that has great wealth and few problems. The Green Knight is a mysterious and magical character who presents a challenge to the pride and wealth of Arthur's kingdom. However, this challenge is not to the battle-strength of Arthur's court, but to its values. The Green Knight disrupts a Christmas celebration taking place in Camelot, and offers a contest: an exhange of ax-strokes....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Free Essays
951 words (2.7 pages)