James Winny 's Translation Of The Arthurian Romance Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

974 Words Sep 21st, 2016 4 Pages
In James Winny’s translation of the Arthurian Romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain is King Arhur’s closest and best knight. The plot advances as he participates in a quest which tests the five ideals that comprise his character: fraunchyse, felagschyp, clannes, cortayse, and pité (652-4). The image on the outside of Gawain’s shield is the “the pure pentangle” (664), also described as “the endeles knot” (630), representing his embodiment of the five traits. Although the word “knot” only appears ten times during the text, sometimes as knottes or knotez, it is a concrete term evoking a clear image of a knob, bump, or tie. Throughout Sir Gawain, a “knot” is the best symbol of power because it represents not only Gawain’s power, but also power of other characters.
The most important knot in the text is the pentangle on Gawain’s shield because the pentangle is a visualization of all his noble traits woven together. Gawain’s pentangle is a figure where “uche lyne umbelappez and loukez in other” (628), or a line continuing for eternity never separating. A regular knot tied skillfully can withstand pressure, but an eternal knot fashioned in this way is infinitely strong and is capable of bearing any weight. The pentangle is not simply a representation of a general knight’s character or the goal to strive toward; “alle these fyve sythez, for sothe, were fetled on this knyght,” Gawain (656). The traits are a part of his core identity, and in an outward sign to display this…

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