Essay about Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

Essay about Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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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 death.
The Green Knight appears after a “fortnight and day” of Christmas celebration by Arthur’s court to challenge them to a game (line 44). They are now seated at the table for “more food and drink than a fellow could dream of” (Line 45). The knights celebrating this large party are “the most chivalrous and courteous knights known to Christendom” (line 51). The teachings of Christ are to be poor and humble and chivalry means to be pious; however, these knights are doing anything but that as they feast in there castle surrounded by all these material goods. The knights are so shocked by his challenge that at first they cannot speak, so Sir Gawain takes the challenge up and the Green knight is pleased that it is him stating, “I swear on all I know, /I’m glad it’s you, Gawain/ who’ll drive the axe-head home” (lines 386-389). Sir Gawain is the best of the knights: “as good as the purest gold devoid of vices but virtuous, loyal and kind/ a prince who talked the truth known as the noblest knight” (lines 633-635, 638-639). Sir Gawain, as a good kni...


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...y based upon the church’s teachings and many of the pillars of chivalry are directly involved with the church. The Knights of the Round Table are full of pride and enjoy many worldly comforts. Sir Gawain is the most chivalrous of these knights and so the one most aligned with the church. Sir Gawain is tempted throughout the story without giving into the comforts of this world, he rejects them again and again, all but one. This sash that he keeps not only causes him to be cut on his neck but also to realize that he was not a true chivalrous knight, he gave into the love of this world and his life, this failing kept him from being a proper knight in the eyes of the church, the code of chivalry and himself. By wearing his new sash and striving against the temptation to indulge in this world Sir Gawain became an even better knight, a knight who has no fear of death.

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