Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

550 WordsSep 29, 20083 Pages
The Green Girdle During the start of the poem, King Arthur celebrates Christmas merrily with his knights in Camelot. During the festivities, an elegant green-skinned knight wielding a holly branch and a monstrous axe crashes the party. He challenges the legendary Knights of the Round Table with a test of bravery and strength; Sir Gawain, nephew of King Arthur, courteously accepts the challenge and subsequently chops off the Green Knight’s head. Much to everyone’s shock and dismay, the Green Knight picks up his severed head nonchalantly and tells Sir Gawain to arrive at the Green Chapel within one year’s time. And thus, when the time ticks closer to the next New Year’s Day, Sir Gawain embarks upon a journey to find the Green Chapel and accept the Green Knight’s blow. And after besting the dragons, trolls, wolves, uncountable perils, and most importantly, the bone-chilling frost, Sir Gawain arrives at a white castle, full of weariness and exhaustion. The Lord of the Castle greets him graciously and invites him to stay as long as Gawain wishes. He also reveals his knowledge of the location of the Green Chapel, and promises to bring Sir Gawain in time to keep his vow. In return, he requests Sir Gawain to enjoy his stay at the castle and makes a deal to exchange the day’s prizes before he leaves to hunt: “Whatever I earn in the woods will be yours, Whatever you win will be mine in exchange. Shall we swap our day’s work, Gawain?” (Lines 1105-1108). This agreement, possessing a striking similarity to the one with the Green Knight, eventually leads Sir Gawain to break from his code of chivalry and experience a symbolic death and rebirth. Parallel to the Lord of the Castle’s hunting expeditions; the Lady of the Castle repeatedly attempts to seduce Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain courteously evades the advances each of the three days, similar to the timid deers, the tough boar, and
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