The Code Of Chivalry In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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Throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, it does not take long to notice that a certain code of conduct, or code of ethics, is very prevalent throughout the poem. The poem includes several key aspects of medieval life, especially how following the code of chivalry is a requirement for knights. The knightly code of chivalry explains the bravery of Sir Gawain that is portrayed throughout the poem. During the story, Gawain’s chivalry is continuously tested, but it is not just Gawain’s chivalry in question. Throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the author illustrates to the reader the true integrity of a knight by adhering to the honorable chivalric code.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a classic example of the behaviors of a medieval
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After the mockery of King Arthur’s court when the Green Knight notes, “Where is now your arrogance and your awesome deeds, your valor and your victories and your vaunting words,” (lines 311-312) one of the many knights in attendance is obligated to come forward to keep their pride and to save the name of King Arthur’s court. Following this encounter, Sir Gawain steps up to fight the Green Knight, which allowed King Arthur to not have to fight the Green Knight. The code of chivalry helps explain that one of the knights has to step up to keep his honor and protect the King and his court. “And the loss of my life would be least of any; and it is I that have asked it, it ought to be mine, and if my claim be not comely let all this court judge. And all councel all unite to give Gawain the game and release the king outright” (lines 355-365). The bravery to come forward and risk one’s life is another of the traits in the code of chivalry of the …show more content…
He realizes that in order to survive and be as comfortable as possible, chivalry cannot continue to be the most important thing he values. When Gawain accepts the green girdle from Bertilak’s wife, he takes it as a sign of the frailty of the flesh, or body. “I gladly shall take and be pleased to possess, not for the pure gold, nor for wealth, nor worldly state, nor workmanship fine, but as a sign of excess it shall seem oftentimes when I ride in renown, and remember with shame the faults and the frailty of the flesh perverse” (lines 2429-2435). He failed to disclose his receiving of the girdle to Bertilak because he was too attached to his own life. He gave into his selfish desires for survival rather than following an honest ethical code. Accordingly, instead of seeing the human ingenuity of the girdle, its monetary value, or the status it might confer in society, Gawain links it to the sins of the flesh. When Gawain discovers Bertilak’s castle, however, chivalry is presented back on the forefront. Only this type of chivalry seems to be different than the chivalry of Arthur’s Court. This chivalry values less about appearance and materials and is more concerned with genuine honesty and truth. “And fully and faithfully you followed accord: gave over all your gains as a good man should” (line 2348). Gawain was able to learn a few things throughout his

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