Sir Gawain And The Green Knight: Trial Of One Knight & # 8217 ; s Chivalric Attributes Essay, Research Paper

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Trial of One Knight & # 8217 ; s Chivalric Attributes

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Loyalty, bravery, award, pureness, and courtesy are all properties of a

knight that displays gallantry. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is genuinely a narrative

of the trial of these properties. In order to hold a true trial of these

properties, there must foremost be a knight worthy of being tested, intending that

the knight must possess knightly properties to get down with. Sir Gawain is self

true non the best knight about. He says & # 8220 ; I am the weakest, good I know,

and of wit feeblest ; / and the loss of my life [ will ] be least of any & # 8221 ; ( Sir

Gawain, l. 354-355 ) . To go on on proving a knight that does non look worthy

surely will non ensue in much of a narrative, or in set uping a subject.

Through the usage of symbols, the writer of Sir Gawain is able to demo that Gawain

possesses the necessary properties to do him worthy of being tested. He besides

utilizations symbols throughout the trials of each single property, and in uncovering

where Gawain & # 8217 ; s mistake prevarications. The effectual usage of these symbols enables the

writer to incorporate the trial of each single property into a cardinal subject,

or instead one overall trial, the trial of gallantry.

To set up the knight as worthy, the writer foremost shows Gawain & # 8217 ; s

trueness to his male monarch. The Green Knight challenges anyone in the hall to the

decapitating game and no 1 takes him up on it. Arthur, angered by the Green

Knight & # 8217 ; s twit, is about to accept the challenge himself when Gawain stairss in

stating & # 8220 ; would you allow me this grace & # 8221 ; ( Sir Gawain, l. 343 ) , and takes the ax

from Arthur. This is a really convenient manner for the writer to present Gawain

and besides to demo Gawain & # 8217 ; s trueness to Arthur, but it seems about excessively convenient.

There is an full hall full of knights, why does Gawain entirely step up? Why is

it that a superior knight such as Lancelot does non step up? The Green Knight

is large and of class he is green, which might explicate some of the hold in

credence of the challenge, but these knights are warriors. The colour viridity is

non a terrorization adequate colour, even combined with the Green Knight & # 8217 ; s size, to

frighten a true warrior. The possible ground for the vacillation by the knights

could lie in the description of the Green Knight & # 8217 ; s eyes. The writer points them

out in line 304, & # 8220 ; and roisterously his ruddy eyes he [ axial rotations ] all about & # 8221 ; ( Sir

Gawain ) . The critic Robert B. White Jr. says that & # 8220 ; one need non look far to

discover the general symbolic significance of ruddy when it appears in early

literature ; it [ is ] by and large associated with blood, inhuman treatment, and force & # 8221 ;

( 224 ) . The Green Knight & # 8217 ; s eyes show merely how sinister he is and supply the

ground that the other knights are hesitating to accept the challenge. Gawain & # 8217 ; s

willingness to accept decidedly sets him apart from the other knights. The

writer uses this symbol to uncover that Gawain is non merely loyal, but besides

brave, and worthy to hold his properties put to the trial.

The writer goes on to uncover yet another really of import property of the

loyal knight, his moral goodness. This is done in the description of the shield

that Gawain weaponries himself with to set about his journey to the Green Chapel. The

shield is adorned & # 8220 ; with [ a ] pentacle portrayed in purest gold & # 8221 ; ( Sir Gawain, cubic decimeter.

620 ) . This pentacle symbolizes Gawain & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; faith in the five lesions of Jesus

and the five joys of the Virgin [ Mary ] , and his ownership of the five knightly

virtuousnesss. . . & # 8221 ; ( Howard 47 ) . This show of Gawain & # 8217 ; s moral flawlessness, or pureness,

reinforces his worthiness to undergo the trial of his knightly properties.

Honor is another really of import property that a knight must possess.

Gawain has given his word while accepting the decapitation challenge that he will

run into the Green Knight at the Green Chapel in one twelvemonth & # 8217 ; s clip. This journey is

non an easy undertaking by any agencies. The writer tells us & # 8220 ; many a drop must he mount

in state wild ; / far off from all his friends, forlorn must he sit & # 8221 ; ( Sir

Gawain, l. 713-714 ) . This journey is besides taking topographic point in winter and & # 8220 ; near

slain by the sleet [ Gawain ] slumbers in his chainss / more darks than adequate, among

the bare stones & # 8221 ; ( Sir Gawain, l. 729-730 ) . The writer & # 8217 ; s graphic description of

what Gawain must travel through to acquire to the Green Chapel is symbolic in proving

Gawain & # 8217 ; s award. It would be really easy to non seek out the Green Knight and

stay place where he can be warmed by a fire and sheltered from the harsh

environment. Gawain, nevertheless, has given his word and he is bound and determined

to follow through with his terminal of the deal, therefore turn outing that he is so an

honest knight.

Gawain & # 8217 ; s reaching at the palace of Bercilak begins the trial of Gawain & # 8217 ; s

pureness and courtesy, two more really of import knightly attributes, every bit good as

continues the trial of award. Bercilak is traveling runing three yearss in a row

while Gawain remains at the palace and remainders. He makes a trade with Gawain

stating & # 8220 ; whatever I win in the forests I will give you at Eves, / and all you have

earned you must offer to me & # 8221 ; ( Sir Gawain, l. 1106-1107 ) . Gawain accepts and

each twenty-four hours while Bercilak is runing, Gawain is tempted by Bercilak & # 8217 ; s married woman.

Gawain is torn between his pureness ( he must non perpetrate criminal conversation ) , and his

courtesy ( he can non pique a lady by non honouring her petition ) . The writer sets

up a really interesting analogue in his description of each twenty-four hours of Bercilak & # 8217 ; s Hunt

and each twenty-four hours of Gawain & # 8217 ; s enticement by Bercilak & # 8217 ; s married woman. The animate being killed on

each twenty-four hours of the Hunt is symbolic of what happens in the sleeping room between Gawain

and the lady. The animate being hunted on the first twenty-four hours is a cervid which can be

described as

“noble game- wise, politic, tactful, speedy to anticipate his jeopardies

and adroit in avoiding awkward state of affairss. These are exactly the

qualities Sir Gawain shows in the face of his enticement on the first twenty-four hours.

Expecting problem, he pretends to be asleep ; and when he eventually is engaged

by his hostess in conversation, the tone is cheery, delicate, and kiding & # 8221 ;

( Zesmer 157 ) . The 2nd twenty-four hours Bercilak hunts a Sus scrofa, which & # 8220 ; is renowned for

daring and fierceness in struggle. Gawain, like the Sus scrofa, faces his chaser

straight on the 2nd twenty-four hours. He abandons his pretence of slumber and discards his

light tone, preferring to talk more resolutely and to defy more straight & # 8221 ;

( Zesmer 157 ) . The 3rd twenty-four hours the fox is hunted. The fox is an carnal known for

its craft. This craft & # 8220 ; [ bears ] close [ affinity ] with Gawain & # 8217 ; s sly, fear-

divine behaviour of the 3rd twenty-four hours & # 8221 ; ( Zesmer 157 ) . The first two darks Gawain

lives up to his terminal of the trade with Bercilak by snoging him, which is what he

additions in the castle signifier Bercilak & # 8217 ; s married woman. The 3rd dark, nevertheless, Gawain

busss Bercilak but he does non give up everything he earned in the palace that

twenty-four hours. Bercilak & # 8217 ; s married woman has given Gawain a green girdle as a gift for usage in

salvaging his life, and asked that he non allow Bercilak cognize about it. Bercilak & # 8217 ; s

married woman was non able to acquire Gawain to neglect in his trial of pureness or courtesy to her,

for he did non kip with her and he was at all times gracious while avoiding

her progresss. She did, nevertheless, win in puting him up to neglect in his award

and courtesy to Bercilak. Gawain did non uncover that he had received the girdle

and did non give it to Bercilak in maintaining his terminal of the trade. The green

girdle therefore becomes a symbol of Gawain & # 8217 ; s deficiency of award and courtesy.

The green girdle is non merely used as a symbol of Gawain & # 8217 ; s dishonesty to

Bercilak. It is besides symbolic of what Gawain chooses to set his religion in.

Donald R. Howard explains & # 8220 ; Gawain has taken the girdle, so, non to have it for

its value or have on it for its beauty, but merely to salvage his life. It is as

worldly an object, and used for as worldly an terminal as the shield ; but unlike the

shield, it is charming, it is used entirely for a selfish ground. . . . He is

guilty non because he desires [ to salvage his ain life ] but because in order to make

so he uses worldly means in the incorrect manner & # 8221 ; ( 49 ) . The shield that Gawain weaponries

himself with as he sets out on his journey is symbolic of his religion in God ( & # 8221 ; The

five lesions of Christ and the five joys of the Virgin [ Mary ] & # 8221 ; ( Howard 47 )

mentioned antecedently ) . The girdle, which he & # 8220 ; weaponries & # 8221 ; himself with when he leaves

Bercilak & # 8217 ; s castle for the Green Chapel, is & # 8220 ; a convenient symbol for

sophistication & # 8221 ; ( Howard 48 ) . Gawain puts his religion in the girdle, alternatively of God,

to salvage his life. This religion that he placed in a worldly object to save his

life is where Gawain fails the trial of his knightly attributes.

Gawain & # 8217 ; s mistake is non really revealed until he meets the Green Knight

at the Green Chapel. At Gawain & # 8217 ; s reaching to the Green Chapel he hears a noise

& # 8220 ; as one upon a grindstone [ grinds ] a great scythe & # 8221 ; ( Sir Gawain, l. 2202 ) . We

happen out that what is being land is really an ax, but the reference of a

scythe is symbolic in that a scythe is a reaping tool. This can be related

to the crop of the Earth which is mentioned in the Bible. & # 8220 ; So he that was

seated on the cloud swung his reaping hook over the Earth, and the Earth was

harvested & # 8221 ; ( Rev. 14.16 ) , is a transition that occurs merely prior to the Judgment Day.

Judgment is exactly what Gawain undergoes at the Green Chapel with the Green

Knight as the justice. It is this judgement that reveals to us that the trial of

Gawain & # 8217 ; s properties was all the Green Knight & # 8217 ; s strategy. It besides reveals that

Gawain & # 8217 ; s true defect is in his desire for & # 8220 ; self saving, the cardinal,

nonvoluntary sophistication of fallen adult male, through which even the best is easy

tempted & # 8221 ; ( Howard 50 ) .

Gawain is placed in many different state of affairss in which he must

demonstrate that he does, in fact, possess the properties of a worthy knight.

Though Gawain is non unflawed, he does turn out that he is an model knight.

The writer relies to a great extent on the usage of symbols throughout the full work in

demoing merely how model Gawain is. These symbols show that Gawain is in fact

loyal, brave, honest, pure, and gracious, but besides human and, hence,

progressive. The knightly attributes of trueness, bravery, award, pureness, and

courtesy are all constituents of the term gallantry. The writer skilfully puts

the single trials of these attributes together into one cardinal subject, or

overall trial, the trial of gallantry.

Plants Cited

Howard, Donald R. & # 8220 ; Structure and Symmetry in Sir Gawain. & # 8221 ; Twentieth Century

Interpretations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. Denton Fox.

Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1968. 44-56.

Mills, M. & # 8220 ; Christian Significance and Romance Tradition in Sir Gawain and the

Green Knight. & # 8221 ; Critical Studies of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. Donald R.

Howard and Christian Zacher. Notre Dame: Uracil of Notre Dame, 1968. 85-105.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th

erectile dysfunction. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993. 202-254.

Thompson, Frank Charles. Comp. and erectile dysfunction. The Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

Capital of indianas: B.B. Kirkbride and Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983.

White, Robert B. , Jr. & # 8220 ; A Note on the Green Knight & # 8217 ; s Red Eyes. & # 8221 ; Critical Surveies

of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. Donald R. Howard and Christian Zacher.

Notre Dame: Uracil of Notre Dame, 1968. 223-226.

Zesmer, David M. Guide to English Literature: From Beowulf through Chaucer and

Medieval Drama. New York: Barnes & A ; Noble, 1961.

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