Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is a story of a hero who steps forward heroically when faced with the greatest challenge in his life. Even, as a hero he was flawed but yet he proved to be much more than just that. As his journey begins we watch him become more than just a man with great morals, he is a man with great determination. He faces one of the hardest moments in his life when he accepts The Green Knights offer. Gawain is a hero who even flawed he faced his shortcomings as a person then he stood strong in the decision to push forward and face man’s mortal fear which is death.

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Gawain had many virtuous standards he lived by such as nobility, honesty, valiance, and chivalry are the values instilled in him. He is a respected knight due to these characteristics it is what makes him an upstanding individual. In this game that is being played Gawain accepts the potential of what his destiny could be and what could end. Gawain’s even as a hero is open to interpretation, and many critics have remarked on the disparity between Gawain’s reputation for courtly refinements and his own self -image.(Moll) Gawain struggles with fear of death he wants to return to his people a triumphant hero but he is in a predicament of how he can escape his fate and survive another day. As Gawain faces The Green Knight he faces his on self-awareness of who he really is as a person and a hero. Gawain is much more in the romance than a Christian hero, he is also the embodiment of perfect chivalry and courtliness, and as such shares, most of the court’s values-but not all.(Margeson).

Sir Gawain was of noble blood and this give’s him the credit he needed to sit at the round table but it did not make him one of them. It did not make him a true knight this is why he stepped up to prove he was just as worthy as any other knight. This is why he bravely stood and took Author’s place in the challenge he wanted to show he was not a weak man that he deserved his spot beside Author. He wanted to prove his self-worth as a Knight and as a noble family member to Author and he needed the people to see his courage. The Green Knight is not the main enemy who the hero must overcome in this game. Gawain must overcome temptation and less than heroic qualities which he doesn’t quite prevail.

I am found to be flawed and false, through treachery and untruth I have totally failed, said Gawain(Poet 2380). Fear of mortality is reasonable but it is how you confront it that defines a hero and shows strength. Gawain hid his fear from the people of Camelot he wanted them to see him a strong courageous man that would endure the test of time. Each test has meaning and points to why he is having to go through it. As Gawain is tested he passes the first few tests but when faced with a magical girdle that could protect him from his biggest fear he could not pass it up. This is a sign of weakness and shows that he is human a very flawed human who wants to live. A test of chivalry as an impossibility by contriving a situation in which Gawain cannot be true to his calling without destroying himself by turning over to his enemy the girdle that would make him invincible(Martin).

Gawain needed to change the odds of the game and preserve himself from physical harm. Forgive the hero his little lapse as we see how steadfastly he has kept before him his trawpe to the beheading covenant, the only covenant his ignorant mind has been aware of as covenant(Blenkner). Gawain shows that even with flaws you can still be a hero all humans have them no one is without them it is how you challenge yourself to become better. And in truth, it turns out you’re by the far the most faultless fellow on earth. As a pearl is more prized than a pea which is white, in good faith, so is Gawain, amongst gallant knights (Poet 2365). He showed that he was smart for trying to use the girdle all the other test offered him what the girdle did this offered him hope. There is no hero who passes up on hope even though he failed his test he changed his fate he got his life handed back to him. Gawain linear view of his failure supersedes the court’s circular view of his success(Margson).

The way Gawain see’s it is that even though he came back to his people he was no hero because of his failure to pass all test. The harm which you caused me is wholly healed. By confessing your failings you are free from fault. I declare you purged, as polished and as pure as the day you were born, without blemish or blame(Poet 2395). Even though he failed and showed his flaws The Green Knight seen through those flaws and knew he was an honorable man. To stand against death in this quest and to live to tell about it is the ultimate prize. If this game was to show exactly what a knight should stand for Gawain passed even in his failings. Sir Gawain is one of greatest heroes in this time period. He is flawed but that only makes him a stronger hero. If Sir Gawain would have obeyed all his moral codes he might not have had the same ending to his story. Untouched by magic, he truly exhibits the warrior-nobles vulnerability to courtly chivalric mystification: he has rationalized his relation to physical suffering. Gawain passes the Knight’s test.(Martin). He might not have realized he was a strong brave independent knight if he had not gone through these test. Sir Gawain willingness to watch the seasons change the countdown to his death he stood strong.

He was a knight of noble blood even flawed as all humans are he faced the impossible. He finally feels he is deserving of being at the roundtable. It takes pride in oneself to take that last ride into the unknown. There is no hero who is perfect but not for trying they all get lost along the way just as Gawain did. The only truth lies in self-knowledge, in the Christian teaching that all men are imperfect(Margeson). As one faces their own mortality they face all of their decisions they made throughout their life. Gawain tried to justify all the choices he made as he come to face his end or what he thought would be his end. Gawain accepts his fall with little grace(Margeson). Ever hero has shortcomings it’s how you overcome those when you most need to and what you learn from them. Gawain restored faith in himself and found his way as a true knight and hero.

Gawain’s religion kept him on a path to control himself and gave him the courage to choose a better path. Each season has a new meaning it’s the start of a different part of Gawain’s life. As he thinks his life is going to end it is just beginning. Each chooses he takes puts him in a different direction. Gawain is restored to grace because of what he faces and how he faces it. His identity as a person is because of all his flaws and what he is missing from his life as a person. Then he overcomes the missing pieces from his life and fears no longer has a hold over him he faces mortality head-on as a true noble knight.

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Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved August 20, 2022 , from

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