Character Analysis: Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

620 Words 3 Pages
Lauren McMillan
Professor Kelley
World Literature
20 November 2015
Sir Gawain: A Medieval Hero The tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight belongs to the literary genre known as romance. In romance literary pieces, courtly love and chivalry are two idealized standards of behavior. Loyalty, courage, integrity, purity, and courtesy are all attributes of a knight that displays chivalry (Shmoop Editorial Team). Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s nephew and a knight of the Round Table can be seen as an epitome of chivalry. At the beginning of the poem, he is an eager, optimistic, and loyal knight, obeying the “Rules of Courtly Love and Chivalry” as he undertakes the Green Knight’s challenge to protect Arthur and preserve the reputation of Camelot. However,
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For save that ye are mine uncle naught its there in me to praise, no virtue is there in my body save your blood…” (Anonymous, 13). By medieval standards, this gesture epitomizes chivalry. Additionally, Gawain’s shield shows his loyalty to God and Christianity. On the inner side is an image of the Virgin and on the other the Pentangle. Chivalric code is apparent during the challenge with the Green Knight, temptation of Bertilak’s wife, and in Gawain’s chivalrous response to the seduction of Bertilak’s wife, Gawain shows virtues of mercy, courage, valor, fairness, protection of the weak and the poor, servant-hood of knight to his lord, and willingness to give his life for a poor man or his …show more content…
All of his actions are noble and true. By all societal standards, Gawain is seen as the epitome of chivalry. His knightly attributes are loyalty, courage, integrity, purity, and courtesy, all of which display chivalry. Gawain’s only bad deed is lying to Sir Bertilak when Gawain did not return a girdle that he received from Betilak’s wife. Other than this slip, Gawain always follows the code, and tries his very best to serve his lord to the best of his abilities- an example of how men are supposed to made. Despite small shortcomings, I consider Sir Gawain to be the perfect knight.

Works Cited Anonymous. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Norton Anthology of English Literature Sixth Edition. Volume 1. Ed. M.H.Abrams. New York: W.W.Norton and Company, Inc., 1993. Shmoop Editorial Team. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Theme of Principles." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 21 Nov.

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