Sir Gawain Code Of Chivalry

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A true knight of the round table was defined by his honor and his ability to be a noble warrior. To be commended in such high prestige, one had to abide by a strict code of ethics. This code of chivalry included perseverance, courage, humility, respect, courtesy, and loyalty. Men who could openly live by these virtues were worthy enough to be held in high esteem by the medieval society. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a newly appointed knight of King Arthur’s court aspires to follow the code and thus reach the pinnacle of his knighthood glory. Although Sir Gawain committed acts that breached the Code of Chivalry, he can still be considered honorable because he wholeheartedly serves his king and proves that he is deserving of distinction …show more content…
During a holiday celebration between Arthur and his court, a mysterious, unknown knight enters and peacefully proposes a game to the court, hoping a fellow knight would accept the challenge. The task offered was for a brave knight to strike at the Green Knight’s neck and in return, the Green Knight would return the blow in a year and a day. When none of the knights immediately volunteer for the challenge, King Arthur raises the ax and prepares to strike at the Green Knight. However, Sir Gawain steps in and requests to accept the challenge from the king by saying, “let this game be mine…I’d be deeply honored to advise you before all the court.” He adds his opinion that it seems “unseemly” that the Green Knight’s challenge “be met by Your Majesty” (214). Gawain’s thoughts and actions adhere to the knight’s chivalric code in that he is courteous towards his king and willing to serve him with …show more content…
During his journey through the wilderness to the Green Chapel, Sir Gawain found shelter in a castle where he was welcomed by a lord and his wife. The lord struck a deal with Gawain, requesting that they share with each other all of their winnings from the days when they were apart. The lord would leave to hunt and Sir Gawain would remain at the castle with his wife, who tried to “seduce him” and even give him a ring “worth a rich king’s ransom” (216). To keep from offending the wife, Sir Gawain accepted her kisses, but made sure to return them to the lord at the end of each day as their deal had instructed. He refused the gifts offered by the lady until she begged him to take her magical sash. She claimed that in battle, the sash would protect him from death. Gawain took the sash thinking, “if the gift meant remaining alive, it might well be worth it” (217). This was a selfish act against the stipulations of the chivalric code, whereby Gawain relies on a power other than his own to save his life. In addition, he kept the gift of the sash secret from the lord because the wife told him he should not reveal his possession of it. In this way, Sir Gawain fails to follow the knight’s code of conduct. He did not adhere to the terms of the lord’s agreement because he remained loyal to the lady’s wish.

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