Social Class In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

916 Words 4 Pages
The literary works Medea, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Male Desire Female Disgust; The reading of Hustler, all include several reoccurring themes. One of these themes is social class. Social class is a division of a society based on social and economic status. Social classes have been common practice for centuries. Social class is in a nut shell the pecking order of society based on finance. In the United States today we often hear the levels of social order referred to as white or blue collar of the working class, upper, and lower classes. The theme of social classes is most evident in “Male Desire Female Disgust; the Reading of Hustler” when Laura Kipnis states:” the body is a privileged political trope of lower social classes”. Another …show more content…
When Gawain is preparing to leave on his quest the narrator begins to describe to us his shield, “that was of shining gules, with the pentangle painted there in pure gold hues”. The pentangle, readers later learn, is a symbol of Gawain’s noble knightliness and truthfulness. This is another example of social class dressing. Had Gawain not been a knight of as high esteem, he most likely wouldn’t have had a shield laden in pure gold. The pentangles depiction as well as the gold used to paint it serve no purpose or function when it comes to protection, only as a display of Gawain’s social …show more content…
This is a powerful finding but begs the question, are you really making an impression or are you trying to directly affect people’s perception of you? In the instance of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight I think it can be argued that Sir Gawain is trying to directly affect the way the outside world sees him and his association with King Arthur’s court. Without the pentangle Sir Gawain’s shield would be no different than your average knights shield. However, because the pentangle is a symbol of courage, pride, and respect this distinguishes Gawain. Then when the pentangle is depicted painted in gold readers see another display of Gawain’s social class. In the time of knights gold was just as uncommon as it is today, and to have something made from or designed in pure gold would cost a pretty penny, so to speak. When commoners would see Sir Gawain’s shield with the golden pentangle it would imply to them that he is of higher standing and should be treated with respect and honor. This illustration would instantly affect the way others viewed and treated Gawain, however, who’s to say a lower status farmer could not spend his life savings on a shield and armor that look the same as Sir Gawain’s? If the farmer did and entered a town where he was unknown, what would

Related Documents