Preview
Preview

The Unnamed Wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1567 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Unnamed Wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the green knight’s wife plays a pivotal role in the story. Yet, she is never given a name and it is unclear what motivates her actions. She could simply be following her husband’s orders to seduce this visiting knight. She could be under the tutelage of Morgan le Fay. Or she may be acting under her own guidance and using her sexuality to carry out her own desires or gain power. In light of this uncertainty, the unnamed wife’s role in the bedroom scene is also hard to decipher. As a woman she should be submissive, and yet it is Gawain who is forced to defend himself against her advances to which he eventually submits. The multiple readings of the wife’s role also inform the notions of Christian and pagan in the story. Female power and sexuality are aligned with the wife, Morgan le Fay and paganism, while Gawain seeks protection and chastity from Mary and Christianity. Despite the power the wife may gain from pagan traditions, she could also be perceived in a Christian, patriarchal context as a sexual object who is commanded by her husband’s authority. As a result the green knight’s wife represents the duality of Christian and pagan and its prevalence in medieval society.

In the bedroom scenes the wife appears to be playing the role of a submissive woman, but is in fact using her position to dominate Gawain, who is limited by his pledge to the Green Knight. The wife tells Gawain, “My body is here at hand, Your each wish to fulfill; Your servant to command I am, and shall be still.” Here the wife is literally submitting her body to Gawain to use as he desires. Yet, she is making this proposition in order to entice him to...


... middle of paper ...


...ere her true allegiance lies. On the other hand, her position in this story provides insight into medieval society. Her antics with Gawain in the bedroom scenes reveal that her position as lady of the house is superior to Gawain’s as a knight. This situation further illuminates medieval gender roles especially when examining the lady’s relationship with her husband. Even if he may use her as a sexual pawn, she is able to assert herself thought the tactics she uses to persuade Gawain to break his oath. She is also intrinsically linked with Morgan le Fay and pagan traditions. This bond is balanced by Gawain’s connection with Mary as a figure for guidance. The wife’s position in this story epitomizes the dualities of medieval society. The conflicting social and gender roles and Christian and pagan traditions are somehow able to operate in this complex society.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Role of Women in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight and The Wife of Bath’s Tale - In the Middle Ages, the roles of women became less restricted and confined and women became more opinionated and vocal. Sir Gawain and The Green Knight presents Lady Bertilak, the wife of Sir Bertilak, as a woman who seems to possess some supernatural powers who seduces Sir Gawain, and Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath Prologue and Tale, present women who are determined to have power and gain sovereignty over the men in their lives. The female characters are very openly sensual and honest about their wants and desires....   [tags: Role of Women in Middle Ages]
:: 5 Works Cited
1648 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay - Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Middle English romance poem written by an anonymous West Midlands poet also credited with a lot of other poems written during that time. The protagonist, Sir Gawain, survives two tests: a challenge, which he alone without the assistance of King Arthur's knights accepts, to behead the fearsome Green Knight and to let him retaliate a year later at the distant Green Chapel; and the temptation to commit adultery with the wife of Lord Bercilak--in reality the Green Knight--in whose castle he stays in en route to the chapel....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays] 807 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Allegorical Garden of Eden in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Allegorical Garden of Eden in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Green helmet. Green body. Green blood. Such descriptions refer to a central character in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight--they depict the appearance of Bercilak as the Green Knight. The use of "green" is a reflection of Garden of Eden imagery in the poem that portrays the Green Knight as a tempter, a serpent, in the garden, Arthur’s court. In Genesis’ account of Eden, Adam and Eve live in a perfect, pure garden until the evil, green serpent successfully tempts them....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
:: 2 Works Cited
2428 words
(6.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Growth and Maturation in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Iwein Essay - Growth and Maturation in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Iwein The Arthurian legends of Iwein and Gawain and the Green Knight are two examples of the medieval initiation story: a tale in which a character, usually in puberty or young adulthood, leaves home to seek adventures and, in the process, maturity. Through the course of their adventures, including a meeting with the man of the wilderness, temptations at the hands of women, and a permanent physical or mental wounding, the character grows from adolescent awkwardness and foolishness to the full potential knightly honor....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
2348 words
(6.7 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Comparing the Role of Women in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Men exemplify heroic qualities in both Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, however, women are depicted differently in the two stories. In Beowulf, women are not necessary to the epic, where as in Green Knight, women not only play a vital role in the plot, but they also directly control the situations that arise. Men are acknowledged for their heroic achievement in both stories, while the women's importance in each story differ. However, women are being equally degraded in both Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight] 533 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Sir Gawain - The Noble Knight Essay - Sir Gawain - The Noble Knight Sir Gawain is a nephew of King Arthur and the brother of Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth. In the poem he is described by the author as "the good knight" and "most courteous" (1. 109,639). His character is shown through supernatural tests when he steps in for King Arthur and takes the challenge of the Green Knight on himself. Then his second test in the poem is to withstand the lust of the Green Knight's wife. Both of these challenges Sir Gawain passes, and gains more respect and honor than he had before....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight] 894 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
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]
:: 1 Works Cited
476 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
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]
:: 1 Works Cited
656 words
(1.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Sir Gawain and The Green Knight The story, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, was told in the14th century by an anonymous poet about a young knight on his first adventure. In my analysis of Part 4, lines 2358 through 2350, I will discuss the significance of the number three, the tap, the asking of the Green Knight his name, and the green belt. I will develop the theory that the author uses this story and these significant symbols to bring out his Christian beliefs about the flesh and its weakness....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
:: 3 Works Cited
911 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
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]
:: 4 Works Cited
665 words
(1.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]