Code of Chivalry in 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written in the fourteenth century by an anonymous poet. It is considered one of the greatest works from the Middle English era. It tells the story of Sir Gawain's first adventure as a knight demonstrating his loyalty, honesty, and bravery. On a winter night of celebration a mysterious and magical figure called The Green Knight presents a challenge to the pride and wealth of Arthur's kingdom. Sir Gawain being a real knight accepts the challenge. However, the test of this challenge isn't about strength or swordsmanship; it is merely test of character. In my opinion, it is a test of chivalry when the Green Knight says “what! Can this be King Arthur’s court?...What has become of your chivalry and your conquest” (Little, McDougal 230). Sir Gawain’s questioned honor made him step forward and become a real knight. Chivalry is basically a code of behavior for a knight. Qualities idealized by a knight, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women. Sir Gawain being a knight and nephew to King Arthur is obligated to stand forth for his king and take control of the situation to prove his loyalty. His loyalty is tested when he admits to be the weakest amongst the court but still insist on stepping in. Sir Gawain’s exact words were “I myself am the weakest,…and since I have asked for it first, let it fall to me” (Little, McDougal 231). At the moment Sir Gawain is the bravest because none of the other knights insisted in taking his place knowing that he is weak. As the game continues with the new agreement, the Green Knight’s head is chopped of by Sir Gawain. The Green Knight survives and Gawain has one year to go fine the Green Knight in the Green Chapel. On his journey to find the Chapel he comes upon a castle where he is permitted to stay but without him knowing his honesty is tested with the lady of the castle and her

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