Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Length: 998 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written by an anonymous author in the 14th century. It was written in a dialect from Northern England. The poem uses alliteration similar to the Anglo-Saxon form of poetry. Alliteration uses a repetition of consonants. The poem ends the way it begins. At the end of each scene, the section of the poem concludes with a sharp rhyme.

There are many patterns that are developed by the author in the poem. There are three literal hunts with the deer, boar and fox. The deer is represented as being timid; the boar is represented as being ferocious, and the fox as being cunning and sly. There are also three symbolic hunts, three attempts to seduce Gawain and the three hits of the Green Knight's ax. The poem seems to emphasize magical elements such as Morgan, Merlin, and the Green Knight. The poem gives us a very realistic depiction of the slaughtering of the animals, the big feasts that take place, as well as the changing seasons. The poem also contains many religious elements such as the celebrations that take place according to the church calendar.

King Authur's court is in the midst of a celebration that has taken place for fifteen days. They are celebrating the New Year, and in the middle of their celebration, the Green Knight and his green horse come barging into the hall. Sir Gawain is the youngest knight of the Round Table. He is the only one that volunteers to play the "game" with the Green Knight. The game is that the challenger gets a chance to hit the Green Knight now, but in a year and a day, he must go to the Green Knight's chapel and then the Green Knight will test him and if he fails the tests, the Green Knight will hit him. The Green Knight has no fear, and he even lowers his neck to make it easier for Gawain. Gawain bravely cuts off the Green Knight's head, and the Green Knight proceeds to pick it up. Then the head speaks to the people on the dais, and he reminds them of the deal. The Green Knight then rides off on his horse with his head in his hand.

The people in the hall are surprised that King Arthur allows Gawain to go on this journey to the Green Knight's chapel.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." 16 Oct 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essays

- Concerns over the medieval people’s ability to faithfully endorse Christianity were echoed in medieval texts through Sir Gawain’s search for redemption. People were expected to demonstrate their unmoved faith, especially since the Church played a significant role in their lives. Sir Gawain embodies the impeccable role as an endorser of chivalry to inspire other knights which allow for open discussion about his flaws to ease iron-clad expectations. Sir Gawain is presented with a call to action in both Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale” in The Canterbury Tales which is delegated by higher powers....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
1321 words (3.8 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- Knightly Character The poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, tells of one knights struggle to uphold the code of chivalry. What makes a knight a noble knight. Why does this social standard force us to hold this individual to higher expectations. What should we think about Sir Gawain when he breaks his vows in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. How does Sir Gawain and Arthur’s court pass the test of The Green Knight. This paper will argue that Sir Gawain, despite his mistakes, is the greatest knight because of his repentance and the lesson he learns when he encounters The Green Knight....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
1125 words (3.2 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay examples

- Throughout the world, intriguing stories manifest within the minds of creative writers. One story that often captives the attention of many scholar’s would have to be “Sir Gawain the Green Knight,” which has been translated by J.R.R. Tolkien. During the epic poem, the reader travels to a time where chivalry is the way society functions morally and socially for the noble class. Although the setting of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is during medieval times, the primary focus is placed on the qualities of knighthood....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
782 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

- 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 d...   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
1082 words (3.1 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- The Arthurian romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, follows the fictional medieval life of a knight of the king’s round table. This tale is set in a time when the court is youthful, known throughout the land of Camelot, for their great honor. The protagonist, Sir Gawain, adherence to the knight’s code of conduct will be tested through a yearlong journey. This code of conduct involves the knights being chivalrous Christian men. The theme of chivalry interweaves though the tale as Sir Gawain undergoes a test to prove his worthiness to the court through a game, he is accompanied by Christian elements that strengthen him on the journey, while different interpretations of the round table’s kn...   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
1159 words (3.3 pages)

The Character of the Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

- The Character of the Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight In the most general sense, the Green Knight is an anomaly to the story of " Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," the only supernatural element in what is otherwise a very believable and wholly real rendering of a specific length of time. Gawain is momentarily tricked into believing‹or, rather, hoping‹that the garter is magical in nature, but both his fear and the Green Knight dispel him of that heathen notion. Thus on the one hand the poet warns us of the danger of accepting the supernatural qua supernatural, while on the other he demands that we understand the Green Knight to be an expression of the "power of Morgan...   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Research Papers
698 words (2 pages)

Essay on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Lines 1372-1453 from The Norton Anthology of English Literature Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written in the fourteenth century by an anonymous poet who was a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. The story was originally written in a Northern dialect. It tells the story of Sir Gawain's first adventure as a knight. This section of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight pertains to the agreement between Bercilak de Hautdesert, the host, and Gawain. Bercilak is to go hunting in the morning, while Gawain sleeps....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Free Essays
476 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - lines 491-565 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the greatest 14th century text. The poem is made up of two stories, one (the testing at Bercilak's castle) set inside the other (the beheading of the Green Knight at the beginning and the return blow at the end). The unknown author describes in the poem adventure of the brave and courageous Sir Gawain who challenges the Green Knight. The passage that starts Part II of the poem illustrates the feast given to honor Sir Gawain for his bravery and courage after he meets the first challenge of the Green Knight....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Free Essays
436 words (1.2 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the greatest fourteenth century text. It was written by an unknown author between 1375 and 1400. The story begins at Christmas time, and there are many symbolic elements. The Green Knight is a color which symbolizes Christmas. Also, changing seasons and the coming of winter symbolize the passing of life and reminds us that Death is unavoidable. The author also skillfully illustrates human weaknesses in the descriptions of Gawain's temptations....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Free Essays
665 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Nothing is known about the author who wrote the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Yet it is considered one of the greatest works from the Middle English era. It tells a tale of a mysterious and magical figure (The Green Knight) who presents a challenge to the pride and wealth of Arthur's kingdom. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge. However, the real test of the Green Knight isn't about strength or swordsmanship. It's a test of character. During Christmas at Camelot, the celebration is interrupted by the entrance of the Green Knight....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
656 words (1.9 pages)

Related Searches

The journey is tough on young Gawain. In the middle of his journey, he wants to go to mass. Gawain then magically finds a castle on his way to the Green Knight. It is described to perfection. It has "Turrets rising in tiers, with tines at their tops, spires set beside them, splendidly long, with finials well-fashioned, as filigree fine" (Norton 219). The castle is being beautifully described, and here, Gawain is greeted like a king by all the servants of the castle.

The passage I am about to discuss occurs from lines 928 to 994. This passage shows the attitudes Sir Gawain has towards women and how he treats them. It involves the obvious preference for the younger woman over the elderly one who is a hag. Even though the hag is not an attractive lady, she is admired by many other people. This is a good example of one of the many magical qualities of the poem. Later in the poem we find out that the hag is actually Morgan who is the one who sends the Green Knight in the first place. We also find out that the Green Knight's name is Bercilak. The passage also shows Gawain's willingness to serve women he particularly cares for. After all, the Virgin Mary is Gawain's patron saint.

The passage begins at the conclusion of dinner. The author says that "Chaplains in chapels and churches about rang the bells aright, reminding all men of holy evensong of the high feast" (Norton 221). Gawain sits next to the lord, and there he receives a greeting like no other man on earth. This shows the great amount of respect that the lord has for Gawain. At that point they embrace; this was a common way of greeting people. Then "The lady, that longed to look on the knight, came forth from her closet with her comely maids. The fair hues of her flesh, her face and her hair and her body and her bearing were beyond praise, and excelled the queen herself, as Sir Gawain thought" (Norton 222). This shows us that Gawain definitely has a preference for young ladies. We then learn about another lady, who accompanies the beautiful wife of the lord. He says that she "...was an ancient, it seemed, and held in high honor by all men about" (Norton 222). Gawain then compares the appearance of the two ladies. One has on a "...headdress, hung all with pearls; her bright throat and bosom fair to behold, fresh as the first snow fallen upon hills; a wimple the other one wore round her throat; her swart chin well swaddled, swarted all in white; her forehead enfolded in flounces of silk the framed a fair fillet..." (Norton 222). Gawain has a great attraction to the younger woman. Gawain bows to the elder one and salutes, embraces and kisses the other one.

This act suggests some things about Gawain. He shows his respect for the older lady, bowing to her instead of embracing her. When he talks to the ladies he asks to be their servant. This shows his willingness to serve the ladies out of the love for them. Then they go together and sit next to a fire, where the "...lord leaps about in light-hearted mood contrives entertainments and timely sports..."(Norton 222). He tells Gawain that he is his friend. Then Gawain says good night and retires to bed.

Works Cited:

Beowulf. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed M H Abrams, et al. Vol 1. Sixth ed. NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1993.
Return to