Burton Raffel's Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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In Burton Raffel’s poem, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” Sir Gawain, a knight of the round table, is the hero who embarks on a journey and returns with a better knowledge of his true inner self. The poem starts at Camelot’s Christmas celebration when Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from the Green Knight, basically agreeing to let the Green Knight behead him in a year from their first encounter. Sir Gawain stays true to his word and a little less than a year later goes on a quest to find the Green Knight to complete their deal. Contrary to most myths, Sir Gawain does not really come back with a boon for the community rather, a reminder for himself to stay true, even in the face of fear and or hardship; When he returns to Camelot and shares …show more content…
Sir Gawain informs them of his journey and of his “failure” to stay true, stating that he will forever keep this in the back of his mind to remind him not to make the same mistake ever again. Sir Gawain shares the battle scar received from the Green Knight, “He showed them the faint scar on his neck,/ Sign of his treachery, given as a loving/ Warning” (Raffel, 132). He also explains that he wears the belt not for its gold but, “For the cowardice, the greed, that came to [his] soul./ This sign of bad faith is the mark of [his] sin:/ [He’ll] wear it on [his] waist as long as [he] live[s]” (Raffel, 133). The knights and King Arthur each wore a belt as a reminder of the journey and as the glory of Arthurs round table, “Would each of them wear a slanted belt/ Around their waists, woven of green,/ To keep company with their well-loved Gawain./ And that belt was the glory of Arthur’s Round/ Table” (Raffel, 133). This quote shows that the court sees nothing but Sir Gawain’s success making it safe to say that they do not understand the lesson from Sir Gawain’s journey. Sir Gawain also returns with the axe, which the Green Knight had cut him. Once again revealing the courts lack of understanding of Gawain’s journey, the court hangs the axe above the round

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