Theme Of Laughter In Sir Gawain

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Sir Gawain enters the Green Chapel a naïve boy and leaves a newly initiated man. His quest to the Chapel was a test, unbeknownst to Sir Gawain. Throughout the story, subtle hints as to the true nature of the quest are revealed through laughter. This comes up in four different scenes and means something different each time. For example, the Green Knight’s laughter is very similar in both passages and has similar meaning, but is delivered to two different audiences, drawing new meaning behind the laugh. Occurrences resembling this are rare but meaningful, for laughter does not come to often in this story.
The Green Knight’s entrance is unexpected and quite abrupt for the joyous festivities happening in the Camelot hall, so much so that it silences
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Sir Gawain confesses to the Green Knight that the Lady gave him her girdle and that he withheld it, going back on the deal. The Green Knight’s response to this is similar to his laughter in Camelot. He laughs out loud, but this time gives an explanation, saying that he knew all along and that’s why he cut him. This confession on the Green Knight’s not only explains the recent laugh, but also explains the laugh back in Camelot. It proves that the Green Knight knew something when he first entered Camelot. The Green Knight is laughing at Sir Gawain’s attempts to prove his guilt, even though he had no choice but to lie to the Lord. Sir Gawain’s persistence that he did something horrible is why the Green Knight laughs. He finds it funny that something as small and harmless as a girdle could work up a man like this. With his laugh, he implies that Sir Gawain is being naïve to think that everything he does has such dire consequences, that he will automatically be less of a man because of his actions. The Green Knight’s laugh strips Sir Gawain down, pronouncing him to be a silly mortal who knows not of what he speaks. A similar type of laughter follows Sir Gawain back to …show more content…
He does not feel worthy of this praise and Arthur tries to comfort him and that’s when the court does the same by laughing gaily. This laughter is happy, hence the adjective “gay” (2514) and the intent to cheer Sir Gawain up would mean that it is not meant to belittle him. On one hand, everyone is most likely relieved that he is home and well, not lost forever. Relief pours out in the laughter, which makes it even happier. On the other, this could be Camelot’s way of saying that Sir Gawain is being silly thinking that he has aggrieved the Green Knight, cheated him in some way, and is no longer the good Christian Knight that he once was. The court sees that he has finally grown up, left the naïve world of black and white and joined them in the world of color. Laughing off Sir Gawain’s current actions is the court’s way of trying to help him realize that he has done nothing wrong and that the sash should not be an awful reminder of something, but a token of him turning from a naïve boy to a grown man. Laughter in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has layers to the meaning behind it, taking it from a simple action to something more. Many times the laughter is at Sir Gawain’s expense, which he interprets in a different way than the reader. If Sir Gawain could read the story of his adventure to Green Chapel, he would see that laughter

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