Dignity In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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Sir Gawain is established as a noble hero represented by a pentangle; an interconnected five-pointed shape delineating his qualities in fives. He has perfect senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell (640). Further, his fingers are always perfect, which could be an elaboration of touch, but also denote dexterity (641). Sir Gawain is a faithful follower of the Christian religion, which is "founded in the five wounds/ Christ received on the cross" (642-643). When Sir Gawain is faced with trials, he is able to find strength in the five joys of Mary, Christ's mother (646-647). Finally, Sir Gawain follows "friendship and fraternity with fellow men, / purity and politeness that impressed at all times, and pity, which surpassed all pointedness" …show more content…
He adhered to the promise to find the Green Knight to complete the "game," despite his impending demise as a consequence to keeping this promise. Also, with Lord Bertilak, Sir Gawain faithfully gives every kiss he wins back to Lord Bertilak. However, he refuses to tell Lord Bertilak where the kisses came from, which could be deceitful, but as he reminds Lord Bertilak, that was not part of the deal (1395). A guest should not receive kisses from his host's wife, but Sir Gawain's code of chivalry prevents him from saying no to his host's wife. When Sir Gawain meets the host's wife and Morgan Le Fay, "quickly he offers / to serve them unswervingly should they say the word" (975-976). This promise sets the dilemma where Sir Gawain can either follow his word and code of chivalry, or be a good guest. Either option is a scratch on his honor. He chooses chivalry and keeping his …show more content…
"Cowardice" shows through again as he jerks back when the axe is raised above his head (2265-2267). While his desire for self-preservation is understandable, as a knight, he should be fearless in the face of death. On the second feint, Sir Gawain is motionless, overcoming his fear (2292). On the third, he is also in control of his fear, but is nicked by the axe not because he was a coward, but because he had gone back on his word with Lord Bertilak (2356-2357). It is revealed that the Green Knight and Lord Bertilak are the same man, meaning any dishonor he demonstrated to one, was demonstrated to the other. Had he not strayed from the trade established with Lord Bertilak, and met with the Green Knight with honor, he would have been fully safe. Fortunately, in all other acts, he was as honorable as he could be, saving his life, and in the end acts with honor admitting to his sins, and holding on to the sash as a reminder of what he has

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