The Hero's Journey In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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The characteristics of heroes vary culturally and the characteristics that they hold are highly influenced by the culture that they come from. In the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", the hero Gawain represents the Celtic culture and the views that the ancient Celts held for heros. The characteristics that Gawain holds are humble, focused, brave, loyal, virtuous and religious. Within the poem, the trials that he undergoes and the events in the journey that are faced are influenced immensely by the characteristics that he holds, some Celtic culture symbolism, as well as the steps of the hero 's journey. Before addressing the hero 's journey, Celtic symbolism in the poem will be addressed. One of the main characters in the poem is the …show more content…
During the first step of the hero 's journey, the departure, Gawain makes his way towards the mythical world. The call to adventure in the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" occurs when the green knight enters Arthur 's Court to test the knights in the Court. He offers for one of the brave men to fatally strike him with the axe that he carries. This scene can be seen in this quote, "If any so hardy in this house here holds that he is, if so bold be his blood or his brain be so wild, that he stoutly dare strike one stroke for another, then I will give him as my gift this guisarm costly, this axe-- 'tis heavy enough---to handle as he pleases; and I will abide the first brunt, here bare as I sit" (Tolkein, 34). Gawain chose to take the axe from Arthur when the other knights refused to stand up to the task. "...Gawain to the king did then incline: 'I implore with prayer plain that this match should now be mine '" (Tolkein, 36). Although Gawain did not display a refusal of the call, the silence that was done by the knights in the Court can be shown as a refusal. This refusal by the other knights allowed Gawain to recieve the chance to face the journey that was presented to …show more content…
Gawain 's shield and spirituality towards the Virgin Mary and God can represent his supernatural aid. The shield has the symbol of the pentagon that represents Mary and the 5 virtues, "Therefore on his shining shield was shaped now this knot, royally with red gules upon red gold set: this is the pure pentagle as people of learning have taught" (Tolkein, 48). Also, the role of God serving Gawain in his journey is consistently seen throughout the poem as the referance to God caring for Gawain is seen. [Doubts that he constantly fears thorughout his journey are helped through the protection that he feels by his strong spirituality and the guidance he feels from God. An example of the guidance that his spirituality gave him on his journey is when he prayed to the Lord and was guided to the castle of Bertilak shortly after, 'I beseech thee, O Lord, and Mary, who is the mildest mother most dear, for some harbour where with honour I might hear the Mass and thy Matins tomorrow" (Tolkein, 52). Furthermore, his extravagent armour that he wears and the sword that he carries that help him fight through the trials of his journey can also be considered a supernatural aid. Similar to the supernatural aid that helps guide the hero through the journey, the talisman provides the hero with strength. In the poem the shield that he carries with the symbol of the pentagon provides to him more spiritual strength by reminding

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