Essay PreviewMore ↓
Plot Elements in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The most striking feature of the organisation of plot elements in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the fact that the meaning of the poem is enacted by the shape of the narrative itself. The three major elements of the plot of this narrative: the Beheading Game, the Temptation, and the Exchange of Winnings are linked in a way which helps convey the meaning of the poem.
The reader quickly realises the interdependence of the Temptation plot and the Exchange of Winnings plot. The bedroom scenes correlate with the hunting scenes - therefore each one must be understood in reference to the other. On each of the three days the behaviour of Sir Gawain corresponds to that of the animal, which had been killed on that day. On the first day he is cautious - like a deer; on the second he is more like a boar; and on the third he is cunning - like a fox. These are not the only similarities between the two plot elements . Hunting is generally used in literature as a metaphor for the pursuit of love - that is for courting. This metaphor had most probably already been known in the Middle Ages and was used by the Gawain Poet.
The most important device used to make readers aware of the interdependence of these two plot elements is the technique of narration. Great care is taken to make sure the reader understands that the bedroom scenes and the hunt scenes happen at the same time. The narration jumps from the castle to the forest “Pursuing the wild swine till the sunlight slanted./All day with this deed they drive forth the time/While our lone knight so lovesome lies in his bed”.(l 1467-1469). Each bedroom scene is “inserted” into a hunting scene - which emphasises their simultaneity.
The Beheading Game is also linked to the other two plot elements - but in a way which only becomes visible to the reader after having read the entire text of the poem. At first, the castle episode seems to be an interlude between the two parts of the Beheading Game. The reader awaits the climax - that is the second part of the Beheading Game. Finally it turns out that the real test has already taken place and the Game itself proves to be an anticlimax.
How to Cite this Page
"Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: Plot Elements." 123HelpMe.com. 16 Oct 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as Modern Fantasy Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, written by an unknown author in the 14th century, can be called a timeless work of poetry. It exudes a certain fantastic quality that, despite its age of over 500 years, still appeals to modern audiences. Because of this application to all eras, would it be reasonable to state that this poem could be classified with modern fantasy fiction. Because of the similarities in plot and style with so much modern fantasy, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight could be placed in the same category with that genre, though the uses of doing so are questionable.... [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]
618 words (1.8 pages)
- It is no secret that female characters are not portrayed as being heroic in medieval literature. In Arthurian tales, it is the men who are usually depicted in the heroic role. The male characters go on their journeys and fight the enemies, while the women are less physically active. But in some stories, it is the female roles that are essential to the plot. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is about the honorable knight Gawain who accepts a challenge from a green knight and goes on a journey to complete it.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
730 words (2.1 pages)
- The tales of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Lanval offer their readers insight into a common knightly quandary. Gawain and Lanval are both faced with challenges that threaten their ability to protect, uphold, and affirm their very knightliness. The two knights repeatedly see several knightly traits--- each invaluable to the essence of a knight--- brought into conflict. While the knights are glorified in their respective texts, they are faced with impossible dilemmas; in each story, both reader and knight are confronted with the reality that knightly perfection is unattainable: concessions must be made--- bits and pieces of their honor must be sacrificed.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
1192 words (3.4 pages)
- The Ambivalence of Chivalric Ideals in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. After reading the poem I was very much captivated by the story of heroic journey. The fact that such fascinating narration could be produced more than 600 years ago was very surprising to me. The diversity in the literature is also amazing. Set in the time of King Arthur, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is a fantasy story of Sir Gawain who accepts a challenge by a green knight and embarks on a journey. The plot and setting are mythical and magic plays a significant role.... [tags: Pearl Poet Gawain Poet]
1520 words (4.3 pages)
- “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a very interesting and stimulating narration, filled with mystical creatures and wonderful details, the author known as Gawain-poet did a wonderful job in portraying the characters throughout the story. During the story, The Green Knight challenges King Arthur to a game, which Sir Gawain accepts. Gawain participates in the game by chopping the head off of the green knight, who picks it up and leaves, Gawain is to meet the green knight in a year to receive his blow.... [tags: Literary Analysis]
1118 words (3.2 pages)
- Marie De France’s Lanval is a remarkable short narrative that engages the reader into a world filled with unrealistic elements, but enhances on the true meaning of romance, chivalry and nature during the years that King Arthur reigned. “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight” unfortunately does not have an author that can be recognized but this epic poem demonstrates the ghastly adventure of a knight who decides to defend the honor of young King Arthur against a supernatural being in this malicious game of cat and mouse.... [tags: Compare and Contrast, Narrative Analysis]
1161 words (3.3 pages)
- Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight, a poem of pitting chivalrous courage against a game of deceitful trickery, relies heavily on the symbolic messages its protagonists send through their apparel. The anonymous poet dedicates numerous lines to describing the artifacts of armor, clothing, and jewelry both characters display. Dress, designed to convey a multitude of concepts is crucial to the story's plot; the elements of garb also work in tandem to reaffirm specific personality traits. The dominant role and emphasis of apparel as portrayed by the poet is in part a logical extension of the medieval culture climate in which the poem was penned.... [tags: Poetry]
1618 words (4.6 pages)
- The Syngne of Surfet and the Surfeit of Signs in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight contains many words and terms that ask for more than a narrowly secular reading of the poem to account for them. Examples that come readily to mind include "couetyse" (2374), "faut" (2435), "teches" (2436), "surquidré" (2457), and "surfet" (2433).1 These and other words possess strong theological valence, and they are as important to interpreting the poem as are words that derive from courtly or heroic or other codes.... [tags: Essays Papers]
5447 words (15.6 pages)
- Gawain Passage Analysis An anonymous author around the fourteenth century wrote Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The story is set in the time of King Arthur and deals with two major plot devices that are common in such tales: the beheading contest between Gawain and the green knight and the attempted seduction of Gawain by the lady. The passage contained in lines 928-993 occurs shortly after the lord of the castle invites Gawain into his home and offers him a meal. The section focuses on the introduction of the lady who will later try to tempt Sir Gawain to sin.... [tags: Essays Papers]
663 words (1.9 pages)
- heroic element present in Beowulf, Lanval, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and The Wife of Bath is loyalty whether it be to to their Lord/King or themselves. In Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Lanval the loyalty exists in the relationship with the Lord/King. In The Wife of Bath, the loyalty is to herself by sticking to what she believes in. The loyalty portrayed in Beowulf is because he had to pay back an overdue family debt so it makes it more important for Beowulf. In Lanval and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the loyalty portrayed by chivalry even though it is not mentioned.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
945 words (2.7 pages)
The plot elements in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are dependent on each other. The meaning of the poem would remain uncovered if they were treated as separate. What is more, their structure also helps in understanding the interdependency of virtues - as reflected in the pentangle. If one fails at one of them, one fails at all.