Sir Gawain as a Noble Knight

Sir Gawain as a Noble Knight

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Sir Gawain is a popular medieval character with many personalities. The stories, "Le Morte d'Arthur," and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," both have Sir Gawain, Arthur's favorite knight as the main character. Through these stories I have learned about this knight, but both stories paint a different picture of this man. Sir Gawain was portrayed in many different lights. In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", and "Le Morte d'Arthur," Sir Gawain's image varied drastically. In the following paragraphs, I will analyze Gawain's two images further and prove that although Sir Gawain is a high-born knight, he is still human.

In "Le Morte d'Arthur", Sir Gawain was very revengeful. He wanted to kill Lancelot for slaying his two brothers. His heart was filled with anger and he was deluded by his emotions. Sir Gawain sought to challenge Sir Lancelot to a battle. "My Lord Sir Lancelot: traitor to the king and to me, come forth if you dare and meet your mortal foe, instead of lurking like a coward in your castle (p. 158)!" In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", Gawain was the opposite of revengeful. Sir Gawain offered to fight the Green Knight instead of King Arthur, and he battled strongly against the Green Knight. Sir Gawain showed courage, bravery and chivalry in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight."

The similarities between the two Gawain's were obvious. Both Gawain's were strong knights and brave. In the Green Knight, Gawain stood up to fight for King Arthur. "I myself am the weakest, of course and in wit the most feeble; my life would be least missed, of we let out the truth. Only as you are my uncle have I any honor, for accepting your blood, I bear in my body any virtue... and since I have asked first, let it fall to me (P.144)." In Le Morte d'Arthur, Gawain was also brave to stay in France for six months and challenge everyone who confronted him. "Thereafter, everyday for six months Sir Gawain rode before the city and overthrew whoever accepted his challenge (p. 158)." Then he waited around for Lancelot to fight, so I believe that he was a brave knight in both stories.

Both stories also reveal Gawain's loyalty. In the Green Knight, Gawain was loyal to Arthur by stepping up to fight for him. "'Now if you my worthy lord, would command me to step from the dais and stand with you there, that I might without bad manners move down from my place.

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.. (P.144)" Within Le Morte d'Arthur, Gawain indirectly showed his loyalty to Lancelot. You can infer that Gawain was enraged at Lancelot because he thought that Lancelot would be more devoted to him and their relationship. While Gawain was on his death bed, he exposed his true feelings about recent events: ."..my death was of my own seeking, that I was moves by the spirit of revenge and spite to provoke you to battle (p. 162)." That shows that deep down inside, Gawain is truly an ardent and gallant knight.

For these reasons, in both stories, I can see differences and similarities between the two Gawain images presented. One is of nice, sympathetic knight. The other is of an acrimonious and vindictive knight. In contrast, both stories show how Gawain is respectful, gentle and loyal to those who feels the same way about him. Sir Gawain is human just like any other person. He can have unadmirable qualities at times, but soon afterward be a remarkable knight. Its infeasible to be perfect and Sir Gawian knows it, but he is only human.

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