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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (analysis ) - Essay Example

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Name Institution Course Instructor Date Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Draft The story’s first part happens in King Arthur’s court during a New Year’s feast. As they sit to wait for the start of the feast, a wondrous stranger pops into the hall. The stranger is remarkable because he is entirely green, and nevertheless carries an air of handsome civility, wearing splendid green and gold clothes and armor…
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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (analysis essay)
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Download file to see previous pages Arthur agrees to play the game, but Gawain rises to take the boon instead. The stranger gives Gawain the battle ax, and Gawain cleaves off the Green Knight’s head but does not die, instead picks its head, which speaks to Gawain. The stranger charges Gawain to meet him at the Green Chapel the next year’s morning to exchange his blow. The feast continues after the stranger leaves, but this part ends by hiding the adventures that await Gawain. The second part describes the nature and passing of the year together with Gawain’s preparation, and his leaving for the meeting with the Green Knight. Part three of the story covers the challenges, and tests Gawain faces before he meets with Green Knight, while the fourth part shows Gawain waking in the morning and preparing to meet with Green Knight. Gawain meets Green Knight who welcomes him, and praises him for maintaining his part of the agreement. Story Analysis The story brings conventions of the Romance genre, with Gawain appearing to fit neatly into the genre of medieval romance. The romance genre has several characteristics, which includes a celebration of the warrior society, a setting amidst the feudal decency, close attention to details of the ceremony, and most importantly an emphasis on the chivalry concept of courtly love. The idea of love hinged on the relationship between the ideal hero, the knight errant and the noble woman he loves. However, in the upper-class society of chivalry, the extreme courtly love was for an unattainable woman, usually the queen of a knight’s lord. A knight’s love for this woman inspired him to do brave deeds, thus the code of chivalry focused on the protection of the weak and fair elements of the society by the loyal self-sacrificing knight. All the characters of romance are present in Gawain, and calls for consideration in light of the conventions of the romance genre. From the beginning of the story, conventions of romance genre are evident. Examples are the Arthur’s court, the Arthur and his knights, and the celebrations of the New Year, which display the chivalric society at its greatest and most vibrant time. The other convention is the superlative mention of the King and knights as the most famous and most handsome of kings. The story mentions the Queen’s beauty and nobility paying attention to her dress and accessories. All these settings and elements give the poetry action within the convention of the romance. There is also link between the Celtic mythologies and the story. Celts who lived in the British Isles before the arrival of the Romans had a strong pagan belief and ritual practices. This link in Gawain is noticeable in two ways: in the Christmas/New Years setting and in the figure of the Green Knight. Celtic pagans believed the year as an important cycle in both human and natural worlds. They designated a certain time of the year to mark an end of an old year, and the start of a new one associated with strange things expected to happen and the human world was likely to meet other world of mystical changes. The visit of the Green Knight to Arthur’s court in the New Year can be seen as the “otherworldly” visit to the human world. The story also has symbolism presented in the poetry. The Green Knight presents himself as a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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