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Dynamic Chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Book Report/Review Example

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a long poem written anonymously around 1400 A.D., contains a central theme of chivalry. At the beginning of the poem, Gawain emulates King Arthur’s clean, polite speech and chivalrous actions…
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Dynamic Chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
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Download file to see previous pages By the end of the poem, Gawain has become a dynamic character and learns that chivalrous knights are human and susceptible to the weakness that entails. Throughout the poem, King Arthur and his knights are portrayed as courteous and civilized. Their speech is clean and polite. When the Green Knight challenges Arthur, Arthur replies in a calm and civilized manner: Then Arthur answered, “Knight most courteous, you claim a fair, unarmored fight. We’ll see you have the same” (275-278). Arthur’s manner of speaking is smooth and dignified. In contrast, the Green Knight’s speech is full of slang and rough phrases. To Arthur’s response he says, “I’m spoiling for no scrap, I swear. Besides, the bodies on these benches are just bum-fluffed bairns” (279-280). Arthur chooses his words carefully, while the Green Knight appears to utter strings of slang without even thinking. In true chivalrous fashion, Arthur accepts the Green Knight’s challenge. Chivalry required a knight to accept any challenge made to him. Gawain jumps up and offers to accept the challenge in Arthur’s place. This demonstrates that he is also chivalrous since he decides to fight his leader’s battle. He is standing up for the person in authority over him, even though this is not required of him. This demonstrates chivalry by Gawain. Gawain tells the court that he is the “weakest of your warriors and feeblest of wit; loss of my life would be grieved the least” (355-356). ...
A prince who talked the truth. A notable. A knight. (633-639) This description of Gawain provides the specific requirements a knight must have to be considered chivalrous. He must be virtuous, loyal, kind, and honest. These are the traits Gawain possesses. The circumstances that cause Gawain to realize he is still human even though he is a knight arise when Gawain enters Gringolet’s castle. The master of the castle makes a pact with Gawain. The master tells Gawain, “what I win in the woods will be yours, and what you gain while I’m gone you will give to me” (1107-1108). Gawain is then tested by the master’s lady. She attempts to seduce him with flattery. In response, Gawain evades her: “But every move she made he countered, case by case” (1261-1262). Finally, he gives in to her request for a kiss. When the master comes back from hunting, Gawain gives him a kiss. This happens two more times. The third time, the master’s lady gives Gawain her green silk girdle. When the master comes back from hunting, Gawain does not give him the girdle. Gawain keeps the girdle because it will keep him from dying when the Green Knight finds him. When the Green Knight gives Gawain the blows as agreed in their pact, he leaves a scar on Gawain the third time. The Green Knight states: It was loyalty that you lacked: not because you’re wicked, or a womanizer, or worse, but you loved your own life; so I blame you less. (2366-2368) The Green Knight, disguised as Gringelot, shows Gawain that although he lives by a chivalrous code of ethics, he is not perfect. Gawain’s weakness was that he wanted to save his own life. When the master’s lady explained that the green girdle would keep him safe from dying, Gawain cheated the master and did not give it ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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