Code Of Chivalry In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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Register to read the introduction… Gawain’s first act occurs when King Arthur has to respond to the Green Knight’s request because none of his knights will accept the challenge. When Gawain sees this, he takes the challenge from Arthur, citing the fact that he is a lesser knight and therefore would not be much of a loss. Gawain tells the Green Knight that he will later respect the terms of the agreement. “My name is Gawain,” he said, “I give it in good faith, / as I will give you a blow and bear what comes after” (above 18). As a knight, Gawain must follow the terms of the code. If he does, he is a true knight. If not, he is a coward. The Green Knight explains this aspect to Gawain: “[S]earch faithfully and you’ll not fail to find me. / Come, or be called a faithless coward!” (above 21). Hearing this, Gawain perseveres in the quest. At Bertilak’s castle, Gawain’s honor is tested when the lady attempts to get intimate. The first few times, Gawain effectively evades her advances. He tries not to offend her while still maintaining strict boundaries: “Thus till mid-morning passed they made conversation; / and always she acted as if she adored him; / while Gawain was guarded though gracious enough.” (above 52). As time goes on however, Gawain needs to exert more energy to resist her advances. Interestingly enough, the entire scene was a test to see if Gawain would give in to his personal desires. He passes, showing that at …show more content…
He vacillates between the two, sometimes choosing to meet his end honorably and sometimes thinking that perhaps he does not want to die yet. When Gawain and his guide arrive at the edge of the forest, Gawain gets one last chance to back out: “The place whither ye go is…perilous…no man pass by that place…he does him to death by force of his hand… therefore…Sir Gawain…get ye away some other road” (online version). Despite the guide’s convincing statements, Gawain continues on. Here, Gawain values honor more than his life. This is one side of Gawain; the side that believes the importance of duty surpasses that of one’s life. On the other side is a frightened Gawain that believes the gift of life is greater in value to the honor one may receive. A known example of this is when he accepts the girdle from Lady Bertilak, believing it may offer him protection. Knowing how Gawain thinks, he still would have gone on had he not taken an extra precaution. However, an opportunity to save his life is too good to pass, especially when he is close to death, and he snatches it

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