Many of the games in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Orfeo occur exclusively during holidays, a setting which includes a rich vocabulary of laughter, game, and festivities, as argued by author, Martin Stevens. In order to defend his position on the significance of the games and the holiday spirit within the poem, Steven first suggests that everything from “the dual…deer and fox hunting, polite conversation, and even the pentangle” has been variously referred to as a sort of playful game (Stevens). The holidays Christmas and New Years is first introduced with banquets and gift giving as a respect for the holy days and devotion to God while “Al-hal-day...
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...ughter and Game in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” Martin Stevens argues that “this pervasive reference to game, laughter, and festival is not accidental” like many denounce it to be, but actually of great purpose (Stevens). Since of the poem 's setting revolves around the medieval period on specific holidays and seasons, Stevens seek to defend his argument by first mentioning how the poet incorporates such festive elements into the text before describing the significance of two major games: the Beheading Games and the Exchange of Gifts. The playful spirit of the poem only hids more brooding details of sin, debasement, and failed tests of chastity and courage. Steven’s most remarkable justification, however, follows the play of the Exchange of Gifts that ultimately acts as a reference to one’s mortality, capable of mistakes and errors even in the best of knights.
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