Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – A Test of Chivalry Essay

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – A Test of Chivalry Essay

Length: 2442 words (7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – A Test of Chivalry


Essay with Outline  Loyalty, courage, honor, purity, and courtesy are all attributes of a knight that displays chivalry. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is truly a story of the test of these attributes. In order to have a true test of these attributes, there must first be a knight worthy of being tested, meaning that the knight must possess chivalric attributes to begin with. Sir Gawain is self admittedly not the best knight around. He says "I am the weakest, well I know, and of wit feeblest; / and the loss of my life [will] be least of any" (Sir Gawain, l. 354-355). To continue on testing a knight that does not seem worthy certainly will not result in much of a story, or in establishing a theme. Through the use of symbols, the author of Sir Gawain is able to show that Gawain possesses the necessary attributes to make him worthy of being tested. He also uses symbols throughout the tests of each individual attribute, and in revealing where Gawain’s fault lies. The effective use of these symbols enables the author to integrate the test of each individual attribute into a central theme, or rather one overall test, the test of chivalry.

To establish the knight as worthy, the author first shows Gawain’s loyalty to his king. The Green Knight challenges anyone in the hall to the beheading game and no one takes him up on it. Arthur, angered by the Green Knight’s taunting, is about to accept the challenge himself when Gawain steps in saying "would you grant me this grace" (Sir Gawain, l. 343), and takes the ax from Arthur. This is a very convenient way for the author to introduce Gawain and also to show Gawain’s loyalty to Arthur, but it seems almost too convenient. There i...


... middle of paper ...


... life.
VI. Gawain’s fault is not actually revealed until he is at the Green Chapel.
A. Upon his arriving he hears what is apparently a scythe being ground.
1. The scythe is a harvesting tool.
2. This can be related to the harvest of the earth just prior to the Judgment Day.
B. The test is revealed to be the Green Knight’s scheme.
C. Gawain’s true flaw is his desire for self preservation.
VII. Gawain is placed in many different situations in which he must demonstrate that he does, in fact, possess the attributes of a worthy knight.
A. The author uses symbols to place Gawain in these different situations and as a means to show he is exemplary.
B. Loyalty, courage, honor, purity, and courtesy are all components of the term chivalry.
C. When the individual tests of these attributes are put together, the result is one overall test- the test of chivalry.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Analysis Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- ... The preserves his courtesy toward Lady Bertilak her beautiness in wishing to accomplish satisfaction towards her needs. On the days her husband goes hunting, she plays around with Sir Gawain’s emotions, planning to take advantage of him. She conducts a behaviour which leads him into sinning by the third day of his staying. He attends church to confess about his sins and decides not to reveal about the girdle due to selfish desires. When Lady Bertilak present her offer, Sir Gawain’s “fortitude should come” (Winny II.646) to disable the capacity of courtiers by “awaiting the man that dies [from] mortal sin” (Engelhardt 221)....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chivalry, Mary]

Powerful Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- ... His recognition that he has failed to demonstrate chivalry in his dealings with the Green Knight and the lady of the castle is seen when he becomes angry at the ladies of the castle who have so cleverly deceived their knight with their trickery and at himself for falling for the wiles of women. Sir Gawain 's recognition is actually that the ideals he strives for are lofty ones. Being chivalrous takes more than intent, it takes actions in adherence with the chivalric code. However, by recognizing he needs humility and contriteness to succeed in being a truly chivalrous knight, Sir Gawain is a reminder of the frailty of all human beings....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chivalry]

Powerful Essays
1061 words (3 pages)

Essay about The Morality Test Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

- The Morality Test No matter where we go in the world, we will always be surrounded and tempted by sin. These temptations test our character and morality, and they prove that our human nature inherently causes us to fall to the sins that encompass us. Even though the world is a dark and immoral place to live, we all value our lives and are prepared to do almost anything to protect ourselves from harm’s way. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the green girdle serves as symbol that highlights Gawain’s incessant love for life that tempts him to stray from his knightly code of chivalry....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1335 words (3.8 pages)

Lord Gawain And The Green Knight Essays

- 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)....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
745 words (2.1 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- ... The scholar David Beauregard, gives insight into why the Green Knight is worthy to test the character of Sir Gawain. Beauregard discusses how the Green Knight is morally perfect, “in the standpoint of medivial moral theology” (146). The Green Knight is a guiding force for Gawain as learns about himself over the course of the year. Before he leaves his court he is dressed in a suit of armor, including a shield that had a pentangle painted on it, and “he looked well in what he wore, and was worthy of it” (622)....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1159 words (3.3 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)

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 and The Green Knight”: The Ultimate Test “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight” is a poem classified under the genre of Arthurian Romance. An in-depth analysis of lines 1208-1240 would certainly outline the importance of this specific passage as it is vital to the entirety of the poem for if these lines were omitted, the story would be lacking and many events would be unexplained. As this passage focuses on Gawain and the lady, one can assume that the text will highlight specific characteristics solely linked to these characters....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- ... Once a knight reached the appropriate age, there would be a ceremony where the knight would swear an oath to God and to his lord, then he would receive his sword and armor. Armor was given to knight because most people during these times couldn’t afford suitable, tough armor. Sir Gawain receives his armor before he travels to the Green Knights castle. “Then they showed him the shining scarlet shield with its pentangle painted in pure gold”. (Ll.619-620) Sir Gawain shows his noble character and virtues when he refuses to sleep with the hosts’ wife and disregards her bold flirtation....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1125 words (3.2 pages)

Sir Gawain - An Ideal Symbol of Chivalry Essay

- Sir Gawain - An Ideal Symbol of Chivalry The chivalric code is a very complex, and perhaps somewhat foreign concept to a modern person. There are many rules and taboos that a knight must obey. Indeed, the very concepts of honor, love, and humility have been raised to the highest conceivable power, making it almost impossible for a mortal to become a true, perfect knight. Sir Gawain, in the passage [Norton, 1535-1622] of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, proves himself to be an ideal symbol of chivalry....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
802 words (2.3 pages)