Sir Gawain Essay

Sir Gawain Essay

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Gawain, a knight of the famed King Arthur, is depicted as the most noble of knights in the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Nonetheless, he is not without fault or punishment, and is certainly susceptible to conflict. Gawain, bound to chivalry, is torn between his knightly edicts, his courtly obligations, and his mortal thoughts of self-preservation. This conflict is most evident in his failure of the tests presented to him. With devious tests of temptation and courage, Morgan le Fay is able to create a mockery of Gawain’s courtly and knightly ideals. Through the knight Gawain, the poem is able to reveal that even knights are human too with less than romantic traits.
In order to satirize Gawain's courtly ways, the poet must first establish the presence of perfect chivalric code in Gawain, only to later mock that sense of perfection with failure. This establishment of chivalric code is created in part through the expression used to describe Gawain throughout the poem. He is described as "noble" and "goodly" on more than one occasion, giving the reader a positive understanding of the poem's hero (405, 685). This courtly view of Gawain is further expresses by his noble acceptance of the Green Knight's beheading game, in order to "release the king outright" from his responsibility (365). Gawain was the first to accept the Green Knight's terms. His acceptance of the beheading game before any other person brings t...

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