Books and Movies Reviews

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

In the epic poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the author uses the protagonist, Sir Gawain, to illustrate the heroic ideals of chivalry, loyalty and honesty in fourteenth century England. The poem depicts the fabled society of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It extols and idolizes the virtues of the fabled kingdom.In the poem, Gawain is the epitome of virtue and all that is good.Throughout the poem, however, his character is constantly tested and his integrity is compromised.In the end, Gawain proves that, although he is fallible, he is an honest and chivalrous man of heroic stature.
The poem begins on New Year’s Eve in Camelot during a huge dinner celebration.The author elaborately details the “feasting and fellowship and carefree mirth” and sets the scene with “fair folk” and “gentle knights”. (p. 2)Amid the merriment and festivities of these noble persons, a huge man on horseback dressed entirely in green, gallops into the hall.Arrogantly he issues a challenge to everyone at the feast for someone to come forward and strike him with his axe.To this man, the green knight promises to award his adversary with his beautiful axe on the condition that in a year from then the challenger should also receive the same single blow of the axe in return.
Such a challenge baffles the court and no one responds until, finally, King Arthur stands up and accepts the green knight’s offer, though claiming it ridiculous.With grandeur and the courteous air of a hero, Sir Gawain stands up and graciously asks to be granted the challenge on behalf of the king. Such a courageous and noble act defines the character of Sir Gawain.With an adept swing of the sword he swiftly beheads the illustrious green knight.Yet, instead of killing him, the green knight picks up his head, tells him to seek out the green chapel and warns him not to shirk from what he has promised, “Sir Gawain, forget not to go as agreed,/ And cea…

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