Sir Gawain And The Green Knight : Illusion Versus Reality Essay

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight : Illusion Versus Reality Essay

Length: 1494 words (4.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. One of the most prominent literary elements implemented in this novel is the use of juxtaposition and contrasts. Through the use of contrast and juxtaposition, the satire Sir Gawain and the Green Knight suggests that the knights of the roundtable lack characteristics of chivalry in order to emphasize the theme concerning the illusion of appearances.
One of the very first contrasts in the poem is the scene comparing the young and old women illustrating the prominence of juxtaposition in the poem.
One woman was young, one withered by years.
The body of the beauty seemed to bloom with blood,
the cheeks of the crone were wattled and slack. (950-952)
This scene juxtaposes two coherently different ideas. The older woman primarily provides the essence of death due to fleeting age. This provides a tone of despair and imminent death. In contrast the younger woman symbolizes vitality and also vanity. Gawain in the midst of approaching his impending death arrives at this castle, which rejuvenates him and in a sense corrupts him by challenging his chivalrous ideals through the use of seduction. However neither the old nor young lady are as frail or innoc...

... middle of paper ...

...ent mistress but in reality was attempting to derail him from fulfilling his wagers. The Green knight was initially perceived to be an all powerful immortal stranger, however his generosity was revealed in sparing Gawain’s life and his lack of power was revealed when he informed Gawain that he was a mere servant. The biggest illusion is illustrated by the knights of the roundtable who provide the illusion of an organization founded upon principles of chivalry. However it is revealed that they themselves are artificial and lack nobility when they wear the sinful green belt as a symbol of honor and lack the courage to accept the innocuous challenge presented by the Green Knight. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight shatter preconceived notions and provides the reader with a sense of contrast from appearance and reality through the use of magical elements and juxtaposition.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essays

- An Unchivalrous Knight: Sir Gawain Exposed In the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Poet Pearl, Sir Gawain, knight of the Round Table, acts chivalrously, yet his intents are insincere and selfish. It is the advent season in Middle Age Camelot, ruled by King Arthur when Poet Pearl begins the story. In this era citizens valued morals and expected them to be demonstrated, especially by the highly respected Knights of the Round Table. As one of Arthur’s knights, Sir Gawain commits to behaving perfectly chivalrous; however, Gawain falls short of this promise....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Strong Essays
949 words (2.7 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- ... In return, Gawain kisses the Lord, as he received a kiss from Lady Bertilak (the Lords wife) that day. After the first game, the Lord decides to extend it, at which time they will follow the same rules as before. This goes on for a few days, and both the Lord and Sir Gawain are able to keep their word—until one day, when Gawain finds himself questioning his morals. As Gawain decides to play this game with the Lord, he does not realize what comes with it, until Lady Bertilak visits him one morning....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Strong Essays
1215 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Analysis Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

- ... The Green Knight rides into hall and issues out a challenge to the bewildered Arthur and his round table; any knight foolhardy enough to chop off his head may keep his axe but in return that knight must ride out and accept the same blow in a year’s time. In a moment of sheer brashness and deflated pride after being taunted by the Green Knight, King Arthur accepts the challenge only to be stopped by Sir Gawain who offers himself in Arthur’s place. After Sir Gawain severs the Green Knight’s head, he picks up his head and leaves after telling Gawain where to meet him after the allotted time....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Strong Essays
1138 words (3.3 pages)

Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: Triumph or Failure?

- Sir Gawain: Triumph or Failure. Sir Gawain is presented as a noble knight who is the epitome of chivalry; he is loyal, honest and above all, courteous. He is the perfect knight; he is so recognised by the various characters in the story and, for all his modesty, implicitly in his view of himself. To the others his greatest qualities are his knightly courtesy and his success in battle. To Gawain these are important, but he seems to set an even higher value on his courage and integrity, the two central pillars of his manhood....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Free Essays
510 words (1.5 pages)

The Tales Of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight And Lanval Essays

- The tales of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Lanval offer their readers insight into a common knightly quandary. Gawain and Lanval are both faced with challenges that threaten their ability to protect, uphold, and affirm their very knightliness. The two knights repeatedly see several knightly traits--- each invaluable to the essence of a knight--- brought into conflict. While the knights are glorified in their respective texts, they are faced with impossible dilemmas; in each story, both reader and knight are confronted with the reality that knightly perfection is unattainable: concessions must be made--- bits and pieces of their honor must be sacrificed....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Strong Essays
1192 words (3.4 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Middle English romance poem written by an anonymous West Midlands poet also credited with a lot of other poems written during that time. The protagonist, Sir Gawain, survives two tests: a challenge, which he alone without the assistance of King Arthur's knights accepts, to behead the fearsome Green Knight and to let him retaliate a year later at the distant Green Chapel; and the temptation to commit adultery with the wife of Lord Bercilak--in reality the Green Knight--in whose castle he stays in en route to the chapel....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Free Essays
807 words (2.3 pages)

The Pentangle in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight Essay

- The Pentangle in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight When writing, never explain your symbols. The author of ``Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' dropped this unspoken rule when he picked up his pen. Why. The detailed description and exposition of the pentangle form the key to understanding this poem. By causing the reader to view Gawain's quest in terms of the pentangle, the narrator compares the knightly ideals with the reality of Gawain's life. The narrator uses the pentangle to promote the knightly ideals, but he also accentuates the primary need for truth in knightly conduct....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Strong Essays
3293 words (9.4 pages)

Psychoanalytic Approach to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

-     It’s easy to associate Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with one of Jung’s archetypal motif patterns: the hero and the quest.  Through lots of difficulties or challenges, Sir Gawain reaches the higher ground of knighthood, and also proves himself worthy of a courtly masculine identity.  It still seems quite daring and risky to apply psychoanalytic approach into the text itself, especially it comes with the Oedipus complex.  But if we put Freud’s three psychic zones and Sir Gawain’s conflict together, or related his fear of castration with his fear of being beheaded, the applying of psychoanalytic approach is acceptable.  Within the connections mentioned above, we can see how the father fi...   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Free Essays
852 words (2.4 pages)

Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: Allegory

- Allegory in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Discuss the allegorical significance of the following words of the Green Knight, You are so fully confessed, your failings made known,/ And bear the plain penance of the point of my blade,/ I hold you polished as a pearl, as pure and as bright/ As you had lived free of fault since first you were born . These words are uttered by the Green Knight almost immediately after he delivered the third blow on Gawain s neck (l 2391-2394). They should be understood as referring to events which began with Gawain s arrival at the Lord s castle....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Free Essays
579 words (1.7 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – The Believable Character of Sir Gawain

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – The Believable Character of Sir Gawain   One of the most important components of any literary work is the central character. To make literature truly great is to have a character whose personality is believable. When the character is believable, the reader is more likely to relate to the character and be drawn into the work. There are three basic ways a character's personality can be revealed to a reader: what the character thinks about him or herself, how others think and feel about the character, and the character's actions help define his or her personality....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Free Essays
2238 words (6.4 pages)