Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Romance Essays

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Romance Essays-64
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.

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Throughout, Gawain counters this with his own faith in God and in chivalric values.

But in the end his natural fear of death overcomes his sense of human morality, causing him to accept the green girdle.

Medieval poets were expected to re-use established source materials in their own works.

Modern readers sometimes mistakenly take this as evidence of how lacking in creativity and originality the Middle Ages were.

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.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.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.In reality, much of the interest of medieval literature comes from recognizing how one work of literature pulls against those that came before it, makes subtle changes from its sources, and invests old material with new meanings.One can read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as simply a rollicking tale of adventure and magic or, alternatively, as a lesson in moral growth.Upon his return to Camelot, King Arthur does not even detect the moral crisis within Gawain.And most unexpectedly, the "test" of Gawain's chivalric values have been in fact a game engineered by Morgan le Fay for a less-than-noble purpose.Disillusioned, the once-idealistic Gawain finds that the code of chivalry which once formed his moral core has now been shaken.In contrast to the questionable nature of the chivalric code, the poet upholds Christian faith as the ultimate, saving grace for humanity.


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