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One of the most misunderstood characters from the Arthurian Legends is the Green Knight, especially in comparison with Sir Gawain. At first glance, the Green Knight seems to be very overpowering in his challenging of the knights of King Arthur’s court. He even indicates that everyone in the court is weak, and he cannot believe that this is the famous Arthur’s house:
“What, is this Arthur’s house,” said that horseman then. (Norton, 309)
The Green Knight knows that he will not die from a strike of an axe, and so he is offering to play this game to mock the knights of the Round Table. But, as it turns out later, the Green Knight is more noble and fair than it seems and is also very kind. He will not kill his challenger but gives him a more fair test, a test of character.
The Green Knight, or Bercilak de Hautdesert as he introduces himself, is not such a bad guy and is actually a very good host. He gladly takes Sir Gawain into his home and offers him everything, a nice bath, food, clothing, and ironically, even his wife. He also offers to the Sir Gawain a very good deal, to share everything they both get in a day:
Said the good host, 'agree now to this: Whatever I win in the woods I will give you at eve, And all you have earned you must offer to me; Swear now, sweet friend, to swap as I say, Whether hands, in the end, be empty or better.' (Norton, 1105-1109)
And, while Sir Gawain just sits at home, sleeps late and enjoys his day with a beautiful lady, Bercilak de Hautdesert goes out to hunt for game. In reality the Green Knight wants to give Sir Gawain an opportunity to show his inner self. The Green Knight tests Sir Gawain by sending his own wife to seduce him, to check first of all, if he’ll bite the bait, and second, if he will be honest about it.
The Green Knight realizes that it is not completely fair for him to challenge a mortal person, Sir Gawain, and so he wants to give Sir Gawain another chance to stay alive.
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Dundeon Keeper 2 Multimedia. Games.
COPYRIGHT 1999, 2000 ELECTRONIC ARTS LTD.
Abrams, M.H. and Greenblatt, Stephen. eds.
The Norton Anthology English Literature.
W.W.Norton and Company: New York, 2000.