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Sir Gawain and The Green Knight are a poetic book that outlines the adventures of Sir Gawain who was a knight in the King Arthurs kingdom. Sir Gawain is willing to take a challenge with a mysterious green warrior who offered to allow anyone who accepts his challenge to strike him using his own axe. The challenger in return had to accept the return blow a year and a day after. Sir Gawain accepted the challenge by beheading the green warrior, who stood up took his head reminding Gawain to meet him at the appointed time for a return blow. Gawain had to uphold his oath and faithfully to demonstrate his loyalty, which was later, called into question by the tests that were crafted upon Gawain by the lady who stayed in the chapel where the story take place most of the time.
Sir Gawain set off in this poem to find the green chapel where he was to complete his end of the bargain with the green warrior. He was faced with many adventures and battles in his journey, which he concurred, until his last minutes of starvation that he meets lord Bertilak the owner of the castle. The lord of the castle had a beautiful wife, and they agreed to welcome Gawain in their castle until the day of his duel with the green warrior as the days were nearing. Gawain accepted the invitation to the castle as he was told the green castle he was looking for was only less than two miles away, after narrating his side of the story to the lord of the castle. Bertilak was a hunter, and the next day before he went hunting he proposed a bargain with Gawain that he had to give him whatever he caught through his hunting mission on a condition that, Gawain would also give him whatever he would have caught during the day, and he accepted also to the end of that bargain with the lord of the castle.
The lady of the castle then visited the bed room of Gawain after her husband left for his mission, with a motive to seduce him. Her efforts were fruitless, and the only one thing that yielded was a single kiss. When Bertilak returned from hunting, he had to give Gawain a deer which he had killed and in return Gawain gave him one kiss as it is the only one thing that he gained from the lord’s wife, but he never disclosed where the kiss came from. The next day as usual the lord of the castle went to his hunting mission, and her wife went again to try her mission of seducing Gawain, but he tried to dodge her advances. The similar exchanges that happened earlier did happen, but this time he offered her two kisses.
Gawain exchanged the two kisses he got during the day with a boar the lord of the castle had killed. The lady came back this time she offered Gawain her gold ring of which he refused, and after which she offered him her shawl, which she insisted. He accepted to take the shawl because he was promised that it would keep him out of any danger, and thus they exchanged three kisses. That day the lord of the castle returned with a fox he had killed, and Gawain exchanged it for three kisses declining to give the shawl he got from the lords wife (Woods 224).
The next day was the day that Gawain was to repay a return blow form the green warrior. He was set for the green chapel only to find him sharpening his axe. Gawain bent over to receive his blow as it had been arranged. He flinches on the first swing of the axe which was to behead him, by the green warrior who belittled him for doing so. The green warrior the swings the axe but hold back twice striking him softly on his neck causing a small scar. The green warrior the n reveals himself only to be the lord of the castle, explaining that the whole adventure was the manipulation of King Arthur’s sister, Morgan magic. This upsets Gawain as the two parted, with Gawain returning to the king wearing the shawl in shame as a token of failure to keep his promise with the lord of the castle and the rules of the game.
The story of Gawain mostly shows the background of seduction in which he refuses with the lord’s wife. This depicts the combination of the game of beheading and the seduction test. The tests of seduction typically do involve the lord and his lady conspiring to seduce a knight for them to judge the loyalty of their knights. The test of Gawain in sir Gawain and the green knight to be the adherence of the code of conduct, as it presents a series of tribulations that are assembled in a way as proofs of the moral virtues in the medieval times. They often describe the individual failures by which the main character has to be tested. Sir Gawain ability to pass the tests, though he did not realize it had his utmost importance to his survival as it brings good fortune to him.
The laws of chivalry that are concerned with the courtly love must be respected, as these laws require the knights to honor to everything their maidens have to ask. Regarding the poem of sir Gawain and the green knight, Gawain had to keep the shawl he was given by the wife of his host for fear of death thus breaking the promise he made, and he instead honored the lady by accepting her shawl. He realized that he failed to keep the promises he made with the lord of the castle, after he revealed himself to be indeed the green knight, even though he fulfilled his quest with the green knight. These tests are usually used to demonstrate between the duties of the knight and their honor thus Gawain believed to have lost his honor because he failed to his duties (Woods 221).
The three seduction and the hunting scenes have a relationship between them. The relationship that existed in the third scenes of both the hunting and the seduction showed that Gawain like a fox had to accept the shawl he was given by the lord’s wife. Gawain feared for his death emanating from the green knight axe and thus he resulted to trick like his friend did to save his life. The first two hunting instances were easy not like the third hunting of the fox as it is described to be the most tricky, thus Bertilak had a very tough day hunting for the fox. This has a similarity with the seduction of Gawain because the third advance by the lord’s wife was challenging and hard to resist than the previous advances. The wife changed her courtly love language of relationship to the moist assertive way. She wore a very revealing dress that could tempt Gawain to break the honor of his promises, than in the previous seduction attempts where the dressing was of a modest wife (Friedman 263).
The hunt for the deer is much easier, which can be, associated with the courtship as women are said to have favored the suitors who hunted well. The description of the deer hunting is portrayed as nonviolent with an environment of relaxation. This portrays the first seduction that it had n o physical advancers and the apparent danger in which the entire exchange was portrayed to be humorous. T5he boar hunting is a little bit harder than the deer hunting, as the boars are described to difficult to hunt. It is described as a knight’s single challenging combat as he approaches the animal with only a sword.
The boar is cornered in this sequence of hunting and it turns to facer Bertilak who mounts on the animal, and in a fierce fight he kills the boar cutting its head and displaying it on a pike. The relationship in the seduction scene was that the lord’s wife was more forward to her advances like the boar, by insisting on the romantic reputation of Gawain and that he was not to turn her down. Gawain was very tactful to avoid her attacks and assuring her to be more acquainted with love than he did. The two scenes of hunting and seduction are thus portrayed as the moral victory for both Gawain and Bertilak by struggling alone and coming through triumphant (Friedman 265).
Games have a relationship with man because in the story of Gawain, and the green knight they are used to test the royalty, and the worthiness of the knights. The poem revolves around the games of beheading and the exchanging of the winnings. Victory in the first game will automatically lead to the victory of the second game. These elements of the game are vividly portrayed in the Gawain poem as having a connection with man.
Time and seasons are well described in this poem as Gawain beheaded the green knight on charisma day; his return blow is to take place a year and a day later in the green chapel. These times are interpreted to be the yearly cycles that are starting and ending with the winter season. The poets are tying to convey the unavoidable fall of the Nobel goodness in the world. Such themes of time are to strengthen the images of powerful kingdoms that were viewed as inevitable, but later fell due to ignorance and pride.
The poem of Gawain portrays nature as an indifferent and rough which are threatening the live of men. It is the one that invade and destructs the order of events through the inner nature of humans the green horse and its rider invasion of Arthur’s peaceful hall depicts the nature’s iconic disturbances. These elements are portrayed by the invasion by the green warrior, later followed by Gawain fighting his natural lust against the Bertilak wife and his breaking the promise he made to Bertilak for not giving him the shawl he received from his wife. These shows the valuation of life more than that of the virtues as is represented by the shawl of the natures forces which is within a man in his entire life thus making him imperfect. Gawain poem in thus shows the wider conflict between nature and chivalry and the man’s ability to overcome the nature’s chaos (Woods 210).
The poem of Gawain is using symbols while describing the events of his journey. The green color is used to depict the many forms of symbolism the color can show the natures goodies and its fertility. It is also used to depict how the evil and witchcraft were viewed in the medieval times and are, therefore, avoided thing associated with green color viewed with a negative interpretation. The green shawl that Gawain is wearing is for protection and it wins as the symbol of honor with the significance of transforming the good from evil. The wound on Gawain neck depicts the will of separating the reasoning and his courage as it is considered that the wound must be connected with a sin within a man.
The acceptance of the shawl by Gawain portrays his reasoning in uncourageous way evading death dishonestly this show the weakness that had accompanied Gawain along with him. This portrays the use of his will to fulfill his personal desires rather than submitting this will with humility to God thus reveals the weakness of his kingdom (Friedman 273).
The shawl he receives from the lord’s wife can thus be viewed as winning trophy because it is given to him to protect him from the green knight blow, and he does not reveal it to his host. This can be interpreted to the Gods faith showing the face of death. The shawl is showing the multi-faced symbol that is being used to test Gawain in different ways as he is able to resist the lord’s wife advances, but does not resist the powers of the shawl.
The shield of Gawain has a pentangle which is signifying the perfection over the evil as this symbol has received much attention in the poem. The poem describes it as a sign of royalty and faithfulness as it has the power over evil. This symbol is used to represent endlessness as its complexity does not reveal any end thus signifying incorruptibility at any particular moment.
The golden ring that is offered to Gawain has the implication of magic and the protection of the wearer from any harm, even though it is considered to be a sign of wealth and the ultimate level in the society. Gawain declines to have the golden ring even in its association with the social greatness to the green knight and to be the possible attainment for humans. The numbers that are used in this poem have significant implications. The three kisses depict that Gawain is tempted for three days by the lord’s wife. Still the lord of the castle goes out to hunt on these three days the green knight also has the number as he swings his axe three times in the blow return scene (Friedman 267).
The poem indicates that the five point of the pentangle to be representing the virtues of Gawain for his faithfulness. The poem shows the senses without fault of his five fingers that are embedded of the five virtues that are said to be residing in an endless knot as it is depicted by the pentangles interlink which is ever unbroken this shows the perfection through the number symbolism of the knights. The green knight is an important symbol in the poem as it establishes the indestructible nature forces in the human society notably on the New Year’s Day. He is depicted as a human and foreign mixture thus showing the difference in chivalry world and the literally unknown world of the green knight. The green knight is calling for the renewed ritual of chivalry and the Christian values as it is indicated in that he held the holly branch and the cruel battle axe. This is his wish for peace that is thus offset by his potential for destruction.
The Green Knight is shown to understand the societal rules even though he is linked with the unnatural world. His green color depicts the natural dominant thus showing the renewal essential in the New Year’s Day. The beheading game in this poem shows that this games to be ritual with the pagan significance suggesting the negative qualities of nature in the turning of every year. This poem surrounds the belief and practices of the characters to be having strong pagan and ritual beliefs thus depicting many characters to be gods and goddess. This shows that many ritual practices to be having the echoing of motif in their myths.
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