Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: Triumph or Failure?

Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: Triumph or Failure?

Length: 510 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓


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.

The story is concerned with the conflict between his conception of himself and the reality.

When Arthur's court was challenged by the Green Knight, Gawain alone offered to take the cup from Arthur's hands. He showed pride and courage greater than all - by coming forward. The poem is filled with opportunities in which Gawain inevitably was forced to face difficult decisions. During his travels he had every opportunity to turn around, especially when the rain and cold and desolation became fierce. Gawain, however, continued on his way. Three times did the lady tempt him and twice he managed to neither offend her with discourteousness nor accept her amorous advances and defile his chastity.

"In destinies sad or merry, True men can but try."

Tests and decisions are as numerous in any man's life as are the beats of his heart. The consequences follow him forever - he is judged by them and they affect his entire existence. However, judgement should not be passed on a man's single decisions individually, but only by observing how he has chosen to live his life.

The circumstances under which each choice has been made should be considered as well. From the start Gawain was facing not only the ruination of his pride, his good name, and his spirit, but also almost certain death.

As a result, he learns an essential, inescapable fact about himself and human nature - there is no shame in being imperfect. The true test of Gawain's bravery was to bare his neck to the Green Knight and finish their trading of blows. Even with his 'magic' girdle, Gawain flinched the first time. The second and third times he was able to hold steady and accept fate. After the ordeal the Green Knight ridiculed him for his weakness and fear.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: Triumph or Failure?." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Oct 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=6950>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- Defining a True Hero &#9;Is a hero the one who decides to stand up when everyone else is only thinking about it. Is a hero the one who retains integrity rather than give in to the world’s everyday temptations. Is a hero the picture of courage, or an example of morals. These are the questions that arise after reading the epic story of Beowulf by an anonymous author, and the romantic tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, also written by an anonymous author. The stories describe two very different heroes....   [tags: essays research papers]

Research Papers
1009 words (2.9 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Symbolism and Moral Seriousness Essay

- In the opening lines of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Gawain-poet predicates the numerous dualities—which lead the reader through questions of moral seriousness—that exist in the poem. The opening historical recounting, according to Richard Hamilton Green, reminds the reader that “the greatness of the past is marred by reminders of failure” (179). The paradox of triumph and greatness arising out of failure foreshadows Sir Gawain following the same pattern of fate as his predecessors. While the completion of Gawain’s quest reaffirms the historical paradox of greatness, his journey to renown is fraught with situations and symbols that develop the poem’s main concern of moral seriousness...   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Research Papers
1042 words (3 pages)

The Green Knight Essay : Allusions

- Did The Green Knight poem make allusions to Biblical tales. . Allusions is a vague description of a person, place or thing without being too specific. Allegory is a hidden meaning within a story that one has to discover on his or her own. Green Knight makes allusions towards the bibical tales of The Garden of Eden. The allegoring retelling of The Garden of Eden is apparent in the Green Knight in one big way, temptaion. The symbolic references from both stories are similiar in many aspects. In The Green Knight, Sir Gawain is presented with a strange challenge....   [tags: Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden]

Research Papers
999 words (2.9 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- During the medieval time period, knighthood and chivalry were key concepts in literature. People considered knights the epitome of mankind, and everyone attempted to model his behavior after the knight code of chivalry. This led to the concepts of chivalry, such as honor, bravery, and acceptance of fate, becoming driving forces in many literary works. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight uses these chivalrous concepts to illustrate the main message of the poem. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the writer uses the green knight’s challenge, the green knight’s first attempt to ax Sir Gawain, and the green girdle to demonstrate that when times are tough, even the best people fail to do the right t...   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
988 words (2.8 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)

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)

Lord Gawain And The Green Knight Essays

- In Gordon M. Shedd’s “Knight in Tarnished Armour: The Meaning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, he argues that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is truly about the strength and weaknesses of human nature. One particularly interesting part of his argument asserts that Gawain’s humanity broke medieval romance tradition. Shedd’s central argument is that Sir Gawain’s true conflict is internal; it is with the duality of his own humanity. He starts by explaining that “man stands midway between the angels and the animals, partaking of both natures” (Shedd 245)....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
745 words (2.1 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- After reading through the piece of literature Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, one will realize there are many elements present throughout that could be analyzed such as humility, chastity, and courage. It could be interpreted that the author meant for the main theme of the writing to be a theme of chastity. Although the element of chastity is present in that Sir Gawain is tested by many sexual temptations, the element of humility is one that is prominent and changing throughout the piece. Humility is apparent throughout the story in the way Sir Gawain displays false humility at the beginning, the way he keeps his humility during his stay at the castle, and the way he is truly learns humilit...   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
896 words (2.6 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- In the middle-ages pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Pride is believed to destroy the life of grace and charity within a person. In the stories Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Wife of Bath, Beowulf, and Lanval, we experience the downfalls that come with pride and how it stains their lives forever. In the story of Sir Gawain and the Green knight, the foolish pride of Sir Gawain led him to step forward and take the Green knight’s challenge not knowing what challenge was approaching him. Gawain faced temptation from Bertilak’s wife who took a big role in bringing out pride in Gawain sort of like Eve did with the temptation of the forbidden fruit “Because I know your name---the knight Sir...   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
1177 words (3.4 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Character Analysis of Sir Gawain "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell" is a medieval romance poem written by an anonymous author. Sir Gawain is one of the major characters in the poem. He is a very likable personality. Sir Gawain represents an ideal knight of the fourteenth century. Throughout the story, we see Sir Gawain portrayed as a very courteous and noble knight, always trying to help King Arthur. The characteristics of Sir Gawain like kindness, generosity and firmness are revealed from his actions....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Research Papers
1998 words (5.7 pages)

Related Searches

But because he loved his own life - that in itself is not a damnable offence. Gawain's conscience punished him more than the Green Knight's teasing. The flaw is enough for him to be human, but not so much as to distort his character to such a point where his actions and his personality do not coincide with each other.

Humanity is juxtaposed against the knightly code - can a knight have human frailties, such as fear, lust, avarice, and still be considered a brave and bold knight of the highest caliber? Gawain’s single act of cowardice should be forgiven - what he did was done not out of sensual lust but for love of life--'the less, then, to blame’.

 
Return to 123HelpMe.com