Sir Gawain And The Green Knight And Knight Of The Sword Essay

821 Words Dec 10th, 2015 4 Pages
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 to demonstrate his virtue by conceded to the will of the men controlling the woman, an, in doing so, respects the men’s “property”. Consequently, is this code of conduct honorable if it promotes the treatment of women as objects? Why must upholding the reputation of a man risk blemishing the reputation of a woman, especially when she lacks access to autonomy under the roof of her respective patriarch? These questions may begin to be answered by critiquing the status of chivalry in the Middle Ages as an idealistic notion, one that promotes bravery and piety for me, yet contributes to acceptance of the widespread oppression of women.
In both “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “The Knight of the Sword”, Gawain’s reputation depends…

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