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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale spun from the Legends of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Typically intended to inspire lessons of chivalry and humility, Sir Gawain’s story follows the road paved by previous Camelot accounts. In thoroughly providing an analysis of this story one must first determine the plot, followed by the metaphorical use of illustration and imagery, which the storyteller employed in order to reveal the nature of Gawain and his mysterious foe.
The story begins with King Arthur and his knights of the round table enjoying a celebration together when a mysterious figure abruptly disrupts the festivities. The intruder is a knight completely dressed in green, with his face obstructed by a brilliant green helmet. The knight approaches the bystanders atop green horse, asking if any would dare to accept a challenge to a game in honor of the holiday. Seeing that none will accept the challenge, King Arthur himself almost accepts before his nephew, Sir Gawain, pleads for the opportunity to display his bravery. The Green Knight accepts and lowers his head for Sir Gawain to strike. In one swift movement Gawain beheads the knight, and in one more swift movement the Knight unwaveringly stands up and picks his severed head from the floor. In the spirit of the game, the head begins to croak that in one year he will return the favor to Gawain at the green chapel in the hopes that Arthur’s Champion will be brave enough to face the challenge.
Gawain is in good spirits, and a year later he stumbles the home of Lord and Lady Bertilak on his way to fulfill his end of the bargain. Lord Bertilak insists that Gawain stay and enjoy whatever he finds on his hunt, on the condition that Gawain gives him whatever h...


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...he helpless Gawain are reminiscent of Adam and Eve succumbing to the serpent and the apple on the promise of receiving knowledge. Upon being found out for their crimes, Adam and Eve as well as Gawain are in shame for deceiving the honors bestowed upon them and must therefore live with the repercussions of being weak willed or unable to comply with the rules they are given. The supernatural element of the green is a characteristic of the Devil, furthering the comparison of the fall of Adam and Eve to the fall of Sir Gawain and his bravery. Gawain is characterized as being impulsive but honorable from the start, as he rashly decided to volunteer for Arthur but continues to accept the fate promised to him by the challenge. In asserting this characterization, Gawain acts with humility and acceptance of shortcomings and thus becomes a heroic representation of a knight.




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