Sir Gawain Faces Temptation
Sir Gawain was known as a noble and honest man who was willing to stare death in the face to protect King Arthur. However, the courtly Sir Gawain is submitted to the unexpected—not to the test he expects, but to one he does not expect (qtd. in Spearing). The underlying theme throughout the entire poem is temptation, which, is Sir Gawain’s greatest challenge because he is not aware of it.
He faltered not nor feared
But quickly went his way,
His road was rough and weird,
Or so the stories say. (qtd. Stone 47)
Sir Gawain stands up just as the Green Knight challenges King Arthur. Gawain saves his uncle from the humiliation the Green Knight imposes on the King from his badgering; for this Gawain is very brave. He has no fear in approaching the Green Knight and accepting the game. Sir Gawain was a man who was held in high esteem before the people at Camelot. Thus, he was given the title Sir Gawain, which sealed his noble existence. A knight is a man who, for some achievement, is given honorary rank and thus entitling him to use Sir before his given name (qtd. in Webster’s pg. 747).
King Arthur was a very honorable man, one with boyish spirits and youthful persona. The King also displays his humble nature when at the table, he refused to begin eating before any of his guests. However, when the Green Knight confronts him he does not cower before him.
He raged as roaring gale;
His followers felt the same.
The King, not one to quail,
To that cavalier then came.
The Green Knight was described as a handsome, muscular man. Because every article of clothing the Green Knight wore was green, including his skin and hair, he is reminiscent of a fertility god. This idea of a fertility god plays a role when introducing the theme of temptation on the behalf of the Lord’s wife...
... middle of paper ...
... of his fault must itself be viewed with amusement, as part of his human fallibility.” (Borroff, Introduction)
He expects (and we expect with him when we first read the poem) that the real test he has to nerve himself for is meeting the Green Knight at the Green Chapel and receiving a presumably mortal blow from his axe. But when, after a tremendous effort of will, he does bring himself to face the Green Knight and accept the blow, it turns out that this is not the test itself. This test is only the symbol of a previous test which was carried out by the Green Knight’s wife, and which Gawain has already failed, marked by the girdle he accepted as a gift.
Abrahms, M.H. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1993.
Borroff, Marie. Sir Gawain and The Green Knight: A New Verse Translation. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1967.
Spearing, A.C.. “Patience and the Gawain-Poet.” Twentieth Century Interpretations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. F. Denton. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.
Stone, Brian. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. New York: Penguin Group. 1959.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Concerns over the medieval people’s ability to faithfully endorse Christianity were echoed in medieval texts through Sir Gawain’s search for redemption. People were expected to demonstrate their unmoved faith, especially since the Church played a significant role in their lives. Sir Gawain embodies the impeccable role as an endorser of chivalry to inspire other knights which allow for open discussion about his flaws to ease iron-clad expectations. Sir Gawain is presented with a call to action in both Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale” in The Canterbury Tales which is delegated by higher powers.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
1321 words (3.8 pages)
- Knightly Character The poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, tells of one knights struggle to uphold the code of chivalry. What makes a knight a noble knight. Why does this social standard force us to hold this individual to higher expectations. What should we think about Sir Gawain when he breaks his vows in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. How does Sir Gawain and Arthur’s court pass the test of The Green Knight. This paper will argue that Sir Gawain, despite his mistakes, is the greatest knight because of his repentance and the lesson he learns when he encounters The Green Knight.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
1125 words (3.2 pages)
- 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]
782 words (2.2 pages)
- 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]
1082 words (3.1 pages)
- The Arthurian romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, follows the fictional medieval life of a knight of the king’s round table. This tale is set in a time when the court is youthful, known throughout the land of Camelot, for their great honor. The protagonist, Sir Gawain, adherence to the knight’s code of conduct will be tested through a yearlong journey. This code of conduct involves the knights being chivalrous Christian men. The theme of chivalry interweaves though the tale as Sir Gawain undergoes a test to prove his worthiness to the court through a game, he is accompanied by Christian elements that strengthen him on the journey, while different interpretations of the round table’s kn... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
1159 words (3.3 pages)
- The Character of the Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In the most general sense, the Green Knight is an anomaly to the story of " Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," the only supernatural element in what is otherwise a very believable and wholly real rendering of a specific length of time. Gawain is momentarily tricked into believing‹or, rather, hoping‹that the garter is magical in nature, but both his fear and the Green Knight dispel him of that heathen notion. Thus on the one hand the poet warns us of the danger of accepting the supernatural qua supernatural, while on the other he demands that we understand the Green Knight to be an expression of the "power of Morgan... [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]
698 words (2 pages)
- 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]
476 words (1.4 pages)
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - lines 491-565 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the greatest 14th century text. The poem is made up of two stories, one (the testing at Bercilak's castle) set inside the other (the beheading of the Green Knight at the beginning and the return blow at the end). The unknown author describes in the poem adventure of the brave and courageous Sir Gawain who challenges the Green Knight. The passage that starts Part II of the poem illustrates the feast given to honor Sir Gawain for his bravery and courage after he meets the first challenge of the Green Knight.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
436 words (1.2 pages)
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the greatest fourteenth century text. It was written by an unknown author between 1375 and 1400. The story begins at Christmas time, and there are many symbolic elements. The Green Knight is a color which symbolizes Christmas. Also, changing seasons and the coming of winter symbolize the passing of life and reminds us that Death is unavoidable. The author also skillfully illustrates human weaknesses in the descriptions of Gawain's temptations.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
665 words (1.9 pages)
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Nothing is known about the author who wrote the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Yet it is considered one of the greatest works from the Middle English era. It tells a tale of a mysterious and magical figure (The Green Knight) who presents a challenge to the pride and wealth of Arthur's kingdom. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge. However, the real test of the Green Knight isn't about strength or swordsmanship. It's a test of character. During Christmas at Camelot, the celebration is interrupted by the entrance of the Green Knight.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
656 words (1.9 pages)