The Role Of Chivalry In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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The anonymously written “Sir Gawain And The Green Knight” is a medieval romance story with a revolving notion of upholding the chivalric code. During this story 's time period, knights were expected to live by chivalric code, and Gawain expected nothing less of himself despite thinking that the “loss of [his] life would be grieved the least.” (356) It is thought that Morgan Le Fey, who was responsible for the entire quest, despite hating King Arthur, wanted to prove that even the noblest men were only human and it was impossible to completely upholding such courtly behavior all of the time. Because of this Gawain was destined for failure from the beginning, but was still able to uphold the chivalric code in some ways and in some parts of his …show more content…
“The Exchange of Winnings is perhaps the most obvious test placed before Gawain”. During his stay at Lord Bertilak 's castle he is secretly being tested by the Lord 's wife as part of Morgan Le Fay’s cunning quest. While it is common for a guest to spark a one nights romance with his host’s lady, one of the standards of courtly behavior is to respect women. Not only does he need to respect the lady, but he also needs to respect his gracious host by not taking advantage of his lady. Gawain’s core beliefs are put to the ultimate test in this scene of the book. Lord Bertilak proposes a game between him and gawain created to test his loyalty to Bertilak and to his wife. The conditions of this game is that for three days the Lord will go out and hunt and Gawain will stay in the castle. After the end of each day they must exchange winnings. While the Lord goes out to hunt, Gawain remains in the castle and is continuously being seduced by Bertilak’s wife in attempt to test his chivalry. How ever, “Gawain [offends] the very characteristic in him the lady wishes to test.” Gawain manages to escape without falling for her clever seduction, but does kiss her once on the first day and twice on the second day. Because he is a loyal knight he stuck to the conditions of the game and exchanged his winning with Lord Bertilak. The third day was they …show more content…
“ ‘He breaks his faith as a knight to his host, to his fearful antagonist, and most of all himself’ “. However, in his quest he continues on and fails to uphold his chivalric code once more. Gawain 's actual encounter with the Green Knight at the Green Chapel is where he displays the most cowardice toward his situation but also the most courage. He displays total cowardice when he flinches on the first swing by the Green Knight. The Green Knight uses his discomfort and taunts “the knight with a feigned blow after Gawain flinches on the first.” Once his gets himself together and realizes he can 't be a coward now after the previous choices he made, he takes the third blow if the axe and manages to come out with a small nick on the back of his neck. He is able to carry on from the hasty blow and is is then that “Bertilak explains that the entire quest has been a ruse designed to test Gawain 's mettle and that Gawain 's failure occurred not during the most recent challenge but earlier, during his conduct at the host’s castle”. After hearing the meaning behind the quest and how he was designed to fail it, Gawain insists on continuing to wear the green girdle not for its protection, but as a symbol of his sins. Gawain makes this choice with a lot of courage because he was expecting to be judged and chastised for his failure. Gawain displays humility hear because he nobly owns up to

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