The Role of Lady Bertilak in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

1672 Words Jul 15th, 2013 7 Pages
The Role of Lady Bertilak in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The role of women was a key role in medieval times. In the poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, two women represent this role. They are Lady Bertilak, who is Lord Bertilak’s wife, and Morgan La Faye. It all starts when Sir Gawain is welcomed to Lord Bertilak’s castle and then he meets these two women living there. At all times, Bertilak requests Gawain to feel at home and socialize with these women without problems. Bertilak trusts Gawain even though he would be away and Gawain would remain alone with women. However, his nameless wife uses many different ways to chase Sir Gawain and take advantage of her condition as the host’s wife. Lady Bertilak is a superior being that
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His Christian codes were altered and from now, he believes more in a girdle than believing in God. I think that Lady Bertilak corrupts Sir Gawain; he resigned his belief in God to save his life. Gawain knows that he does not have any chance against the Green Knight. We see this chase of belief in the following quotation:
“But it was not for its richness he wore this girdle,
nor for pride in the pendants, though polished they were,
and though the glittering gold gleamed at the ends,
but to save himself when it behoved him to suffer,
to abide baneful stroke without battling with blade
or knife” (¶. 81, P. 73,74).
Sir Gawain accepts the girdle and he wears it to face the Green Knight. William Woods in “Nature and the Inner Man in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” thinks that “Gawain breaks his vow to Bertilak and the Green Knight by choosing to keep the green girdle and choosing his personal survival rather than virtue” (221). If Lady Bertilak had not given the girdle to Sir Gawain, he would not have dealt with this situation. Also, Wood indicates that “Nature is an underlying force that seems to be a part of man that keeps him forever imperfect [in a chivalric sense], as represented by the sin stained girdle” (225). Gawain acts naturally by accepting present but as I stated before, it would carry consequences for him. Among those consequences are the breakings of his…

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