Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Romance Essays

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Romance Essays-83
Disillusioned, the once-idealistic Gawain finds that the code of chivalry which once formed his moral core has now been shaken.

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Perhaps the most significant of these human constructions is chivalric code which forms such an essential part of medieval literature and of Gawain's belief system.

Gawain is the very embodiment of chivalric values, yet his encounter with the seductive Lady Bertilak forces a crisis in the chivalric value system: should he honor the requests of the noble lady or remain faithful to his lord?

To affirm this, the poem concludes with a supplication to Jesus Christ, the Savior.

Despite its Christian message, the poem has strong roots in Celtic pagan myth.

There are many elements common to pre-Christian Celtic mythology, such as the waiting period of twelve months and a day, the Beheading Game, and the Temptation Game.

The Green Knight himself is a strongly pagan character, similar to the Green Man or Wild Man of the Woods who symbolizes fertility in folklore.Ever pious, Gawain continuously finds guidance in God: from the image of the Virgin Mary on the inside of his shield to his prayers while journeying alone, to his narrow escape from the adulterous temptations of Lady Bertilak.It is, in a sense, faith in God which enables mankind to negotiate between the dangers of human society and the dangers of the natural world.And while humans shy away from their inevitable death, it is Nature which can continue to restore and regenerate itself, as seen in the indestructible Green Knight and the passing and resurrection of the year.The poem is full of detailed descriptions of human constructs, like armor, clothing, food, architecture, even the cutting of hunted deer.Gawain's journey can even be seen as the hero's archetypical encounter with the Otherworld, an essential theme in pagan belief.The Pentangle is often a pagan symbol; thus Gawain' s shield, with the Pentangle on one side and the Virgin Mary on the other, comes to represent the dual pagan/Christian nature of the poem.Such an allegory emphasizes once more the poet's Christian message, and the relationship between mankind and the divine.Introduction Like most medieval literature, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight participates in several important literary traditions that its original audience would have instantly recognized.The conversation between the seductive Lady Bertilak and the diplomatic Gawain satirizes the language of Courtly Love, the descriptions of armor and clothing can be over-the-top, and the poem does not conclude with the resolution of the typical romance.Instead, there is a sense of unease, as the poet concludes what seems to be a subtle questioning of the romance genre.


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