Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Faith Analysis

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Becca L. Corley ENGL 3413 Dr. Poznar March 5, 2014 Keeping Faith In the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight we are introduced to our main character Sir Gawain. Gawain is a much different character than we are accustomed to seeing. Gawain is very modest. He has the reputation of being known as a courtly lover and a great knight. He prides himself in following the five points of chivalry in all aspects of life and he is the prime example of humility, integrity, loyalty, piety and honesty. Gawain believes in keeping faith within all things and to trust the signs in his path. Not once does he pray to a higher power and a sign is not shown. He always keeps with his faith and deals with the inner conflicts that this lifestyle brings…show more content…
This thought leads to decisions later made in the text. The Green Knight essentially tricks Gawain by not giving Gawain the knowledge of his supernatural abilities before challenging him to agree to his terms, Gawain refuses to back out of the deal. He believes that a true man of knighthood keeps his word and this relates a lot to his faith of making his worldly experience worth living. He stands by his commitments, even when it means jeopardizing his own life. The poem repeats the mention of Gawain’s deep fears and anxieties, but Gawain’s desire to maintain his personal integrity at all costs enables him to conquer his fears in his quest for the Green Knight. When he questions things he reverences the Virgin Mary and God. Gawain is tempted three times by Lady Bertilak much like Jesus was tempted three times by the devil. The parallels formed here are a very Anglo-Saxon quality made to appeal to pagan audiences. Gawain is far from a static character and his beliefs help with that change. In his encounter with the Green Knight, he recognizes the problematic nature of courtly ideals. Upon return from the Green Chapel Gawain feels as if he has failed for he shamed and lied to the Green Knight, the other lords and ladies still look at him like lighthearted children, but Gawain is weighed down by a new somberness. Though he survives his quest, Gawain emerges at the end of the poem as a…show more content…
This prayer leads him to Lord and Lady Bertilak’s castle where Gawain is once again placed in a “wager” position with the Lord and thrice tempted by the lady. He refuses all advances except that of a green sash, which he is under the impression that it will save his life. He does not report this gift to the Lord of the castle and this trickery makes Gawain uneasy for he does not know where to place his faith. He had made promises to both the owners of the home and he cannot justify betraying one of them. This is his only “sin” to be shown throughout the poem and he does pay for it. This small token that will supposedly save his life causes him a knick of a cut from the King who turns out to be Lord Bertilak under the command of Morgan le Fay. This whole thing was a ruse in order to strike fear upon Queen Guinevere. Sir Gawain is deeply hurt that he has failed and proclaims to use the girdle as a reminder of his sins so that he shall never fall victim to them again. Gawain is hardest upon himself because he has such faith within higher powers and he felt as if he owed them his forever servitude. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight shows the inner struggles of Gawain to be completely faithful to everyone he encounters. By the end of the poem he feels as if he has failed even though he has done far more than any other knight could have envisioned doing. Sir

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