Examples Of Patriarchal Periodism In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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In order to successfully be chivalrous in the Middle Ages, one must adhere the patriarchal order that structures society. In particular, knight’s reputation as a chivalrous man can also often be conditional on how he performs in a sexual charged dilemma. The great Arthurian knight Gawain is a great example of how a patriarchal order structures his actions in both “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “The Knight of the Sword”. In each story, a woman is used as a pawn by either her husband or her father in order to test Gawain’s status as a virtuous knight from the grand King Arthur’s Round Table. The virtues of the woman, however, are seen as nearly inconsequential compared to the honor of the men enmeshed in each conflict. Gawain is expected …show more content…
However, these social norms are implicitly portrayed as problematic, particularly when women are involved. The methods used by the hosts to test Gawain are questionable in regards to morality because they compromise the safety and reputation of the women. The hosts are playing on the fact that Gawain has a reputation to uphold, as both a courteous knight and a man who is successful with women. The audience is also well aware of Gawain’s reputation and expect him to be both courteous and amorous. As a result, the sexualities of the women involved are exploited to serve the wills of the men. In “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, the Green Knight, in the disguise of a welcoming host, has his wife actively seduce Gawain during the three days that he stayed with him. The wife is a very attractive young woman, more attractive even than the treasured Guinevere, according to Gawain. While her husband is away on a hunt to fulfill his side of an exchange bargain established with Gawain for his company, steals away to Gawain’s private chambers and insists that Gawain grant her the kisses she so admittedly desires. Gawain is unaware of his host’s true identity as the Green Knight, and thus does not suspect any duplicity in his court. However, he is aware loyalty to his host is crucial to being a good

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