The examples of chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Chrétien de Troyes are numerous. It is clear that there were many examples of good men who fought for their honor, defended women, and did not underestimate others because they looked different than them. In this essay we will explore examples such as: when Sir Gawain saves the damsel from her tower, when he defends a lady against an unknightly knight, and when he spares the life of the green knight even though his own life was at stake.
In the 14th-century ballad, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the protagonist is a medieval knight named Sir Gawain. The poem sheds light on the Medieval Age when knights were guided by ten precepts of chivalry from the Knights Code of Chivalry. One of King Arthur’s Round Table’s most famous and illustrious knights is Sir Gawain.
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The chivalric code of the 14th century, as well as the main values attributed to knights, are depicted in Sir Gawain. They were loyalty, valor, honesty, and honor. In his thoughts and actions, Sir Gawain displays these ideals and does what a medieval knight is supposed to do. He has sworn fealty to his King and follows God’s law faithfully. He experiences a court love for the Lady.
Gawain is a great knight of the Round Table, as he proves his devotion to King Arthur by accepting the Green Knight’s challenge in order to preserve the king’s reputation. Gawain demonstrates loyalty and duty to Arthur as a result of this. Furthermore, Gawain had an opportunity during the Arthur’s Christmas dinner to demonstrate his bravery when the Green Knight made his demand.
Gawain’s reply to Green Knight, “Did I flinch, or flee from you when your blow felled me?” (Cooper 81), is “Enough! I won’t flinch when you hack!” (Cooper 81). He also fights the dark knight and other monsters without a hint of fear in his heart, demonstrating one of the poem’s themes: “…Gawain, his name is too noble; he’s never afraid, nowhere…” (Cooper 81).
Gawain, like all Arthur’s knights, believed in God’s law and was governed by Christian norms. He thinks that God will defend him, “so armed as he was, he heard a mass at the high altar” (Cooper 74). His religious thoughts contradict one of the “knight’s laws” of the courtly love. When Gawain meets Lady Burdilac, it becomes clear.
On the one hand, God’s law forbids a love relationship with a married woman; on the other, a knight’s passion for a lady serves as an incentive for performing heroics. Despite this, Sir Gawain resists Lady Burdilac’s persuasion and withstands his inclination. It is yet another example of his gallantry.
Sir Gawain is a hero since he follows the chivalric code, which establishes him as a renowned knight of the Round Table with a heroic reputation. Sir Gawain successfully completed all of the challenges he encountered on his journey. Furthermore, as an honest man, he proved himself. He relates King Arthur’s court the tale of how he met the Lady. The court, however, decides to change Gawain’s girdle into glory and elevate him to one of the greatest Knights of the Round Table.
As a result, Gawain is the finest illustration of chivalrous conduct. During his escapades, he exhibits the qualities that a King Arthur’s knight should have. He battles against the Green Knight and other monsters, resists the Lady Burdilac’s allure, and demonstrates his devotion to God and king.
The court of King Arthur is the pinnacle of chivalry within its own walls in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Chivalry’s code included several qualities such as compassion, bravery, valor, fairness, protection for the weak, loyalty to one’s master, willingness to give up one’s life for another, and well-known courtly love.
When confronted with contrasting viewpoints and difficulties, this code of chivalry is rapidly forgotten or neglected in the outside world. When we look at Sir Gawain during his travels, we notice how the conduct that was highly prized and common in the court was not exhibited or shown on his quest to find the Green Knight. Despite having a pentangle on his shield as a reminder of what he should do.
He went out to find the Green Knight, and a year later when he had to face the Green Knight again after injuring him with his first strike. He could have stayed in the hall; however, he felt compelled to adhere to the code, so he set out into the countryside in search of the Knight as he promised. Even if he hadn’t gone, as stated by a knight, because he would be required to keep his promise to demonstrate his bravery and gallantry. Gawain carries the pentangle as a reminder of his five great virtues and to display them throughout his journey to meet the Green Knight. Gawain prays to the Virgin Mary for help in locating somewhere to attend Christmas mass, and he is guided to Lord Bertilak’s castle after.
However, most of the time during the journey, he kept to the path. There were several instances when he strayed from the code. When Gawain was a guest at Bertilak’s castle, his host put his wife up to seducing him for the game he had offered to the knight. Because they were both pretending to be polite towards one another, their courtly behavior was a facade. The Lady of Castle never informed her spouse that she had been set up by him, and Gawain feigned sleep and kept his real thoughts secret.
Chivalry is defined as the virtues of loyalty, bravery, honor, purity, and decorum that exemplify a knight. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is really about the challenges of these qualities. To truly put these virtues to test, there must first be a knight who is deserving of being tested; in other words, he must have chivalric qualities to begin with.
Gawain is not the greatest knight in the world. He openly confesses, “I’m the weakest and dimmest of wits; I know that well; / and the loss of my life will be least among any” (Sir Gawain, l. 354-355). Continually testing a squire who doesn’t appear to be excellent won’t result in much of a novel.
The Green Knight is huge and, of course, green, which may explain part of the delay in accepting the challenge. These knights are warriors; even when combined with the Green Knight’s size, the color green isn’t frightening enough to frighten a real fighter. The description of the Green Knight’s eyes could be why some of the knights were hesitant.
The red-eyed creatures are mentioned by the author in line 304, “and his roistering eyes he rolls all about” (Sir Gawain). According to Robert B. White Jr., “red is frequently associated with blood, savagery, and mayhem throughout early literature.” (224)
The Green Knight’s eyes show how evil he is, and it explains why the other knights are scared to accept Gawain’s challenge. Gawain’s eagerness to participate distinguishes him from the other knights. This symbol is used by the author to suggest that Gawain not only is loyal but also brave and deserving of his qualities put to the test.
The allegorical tale continues as the protagonist, Sir Gawain, now appears. The author goes on to explain another key feature of the loyal knight: his moral integrity. This is demonstrated in the description of Gawain’s shield, which he uses to go on his quest to visit the Green Chapel: it is adorned “with a pentangle drawn in purest gold” (Sir Gawain, l. 620).
The King Arthur stories are among the most popular tales in history, and they all have a particular message or meaning to convey. Chivalry is the major theme of the medieval poem, which explores it in greater depth. More significantly, how others may test and even value chivalry. Chivalry is made up of many principles and values that existed at the time, such as loyalty to the king, bravery in the face of fate, and strong character.
Among the things it uncovers are words and phrases such as “knight in shining armor,” “trojan horse,” and titles such as “King of kings,” which refer to something holy or mythical. It also interprets many values that are popular in today’s culture, including politeness, respectfulness, the preservation of women’s honour, and the fight for people’s wellbeing. In his essay for The Pictorial National Library, Horatio Alger comments: “The institution of chivalry is one of the most remarkable features in medieval history.”
During the Middle Ages, many idealistic concepts were developed and still utilized today. Gawain offers himself to take the place of King Arthur in the knight’s game at the start of the medieval poem, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Second, when Gawain keeps his promises to the Green Knight, he demonstrates chivalry.
Gawain was an exemplar of chivalry during his quest to the Green Chapel in search of the Green Knight. Gawain promised to do so after witnessing him fight off a dragon. Last but not least, Gawain’s change in attitude at the Green Chapel from fearfulness to prideful fury demonstrated that he comprehended his gravity. Overall, maintaining Gawain’s composure while knowing he would most certainly die is an enormous demonstration of valor.
The medieval period was well-known for its culture of chivalry. Chivalry was a set of norms that Knights were expected to follow. The Chivalric Code included such concepts as honesty, patience, courtliness, humility, loyalty, sovereignty, and respect for women. Le Morte d’Arthur, and King Arthur follow these rules in those versions; however they have both advantages and drawbacks. In which version do the characters demonstrate the greatest degree of chivalry? Which version’s characters are the most admirable and why?
Throughout this essay, I’ll answer the following questions: Okay. These are a couple of the issues I’ll address throughout the essay. The larger-than-life personalities and features of supernatural beings featured in these two poems and the film demonstrate medieval romance. The Green Knight, as the greater-than-life figure, and the element of super natural in his surviving a blow, demonstrates it in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight.
Many Chivalrous behaviors are present in this poem, including love, passion, loyalty, trust, and bravery. However, the most essential was Gawain’s chivalry for his lady of the castle. Every day at supper time Gawain and the lord shared their finds with one another. Gawain allows ladies to visit his chamber but he refuses to accept anything from them other than her request that they give him something later on.
In this poem, chivalry is exemplified by bravery, loyalty, and love. When they were in danger, afraid, or in a tough position, they exhibited moral and mental strength. Arthur was informed that he would not win when he fought Sir Mordred. You might assume that Arthur was anxious about the fight with Mordred. The test of loyalty occurred when Arthur fought against someone who was far more skilled than him. Bravery can go hand-in-hand with loyalty.
During the Middle Ages, all knights were expected to adhere to a set of rules. The chivalric code was something that the greatest and most excellent knight could aspire to. Knights were supposed to be trustworthy, honest, and courageous. When Sir Gawain confronted the Green Knight’s challenge in King Arthur’s stead so that his king would not be harmed or slain, he was brave and honorable (H5 28).
Finally, in the conclusion of the tale, Sir Gawain has a few misadventures when human nature intercedes in his chivalrous escapades. Although Sir Gawain is not perfect in all areas of being a great and flawless knight, while he faces some significant challenges, human nature steps in.
Gawain, a widower and guardian of the queen, had his share of difficulties in trying to be a great knight, but he also accomplished wonderful things according to the code and what was expected of a knight. The Green Knight appears at King Arthur’s residence demanding a duel. King Arthur is challenged by Sir Gawain. In light of his noble qualities as well as his moral integrity, Gawain steps forward instead of King Arthur and asks that the challenge be accepted on his behalf.
“Before everything, King, entrust this combat to me. It may be mine” (142). Since Sir Gawain is aware that King Arthur is in a higher social rank than he is, he should accept the duel from the Green Knight. The Green Knight may have known that Sir Gawain would step up in place of King Arthur and did everything deliberately.
They compete to see who can strike the Green Knight first. When Sir Gawain strikes the Green Knight for a blow, he is obligated to return and fight again on the next day. A year later, Sir Gawain fulfills his promise and tries to locate the Green Knight. He did not flee from or show cowardice towards the Green Knight. According to chivalry’s code, Sir Gawain exhibited positive traits as a knight, but he also had some undesirable characteristics.
Gawain’s first action occurs when King Arthur must respond to the Green Knight’s request since none of his knights will accept the challenge. Gawain accepts Arthur’s offer, mentioning that he is a lesser knight and therefore would not be much of a loss. Gawain informs the Green Knight that he will adhere to the agreement’s terms later.
“My name is Gawain,” he announced. “I am offering it in good faith since I will give you a blow and accept what follows.” (18) As a knight, Gawain must adhere to the standards of chivalry. If he does this, he is regarded as a genuine hero. If not, he is labeled a coward. The Green Knight informs Gawain that if he diligently searches for him, he will certainly discover him: “[S]earch faithfully and you’ll find me no matter how far apart we are.’ Come or be called a cowardly liar!” (above 21).
Gawain insists on continuing his mission. Hearing this, Gawain stays focused in his goal. When Gawain reaches Bertilak’s castle, he is put to the test when the lady attempts to have sex with him. Gawain successfully dodges her efforts many times before falling asleep. He tried not to annoy her by maintaining firm limits: “Thus they spoke for a long while; and always she seemed to adore him; / whereas Gawain was cautious yet courteous” (52).
Gawain, on the other hand, has to put out more effort as time goes on in order to resist her advances. Surprisingly, the action was a test to see whether Gawain would succumb to his own desires. He vacillates between the two and sometimes chooses death heroically and sometimes believes he does not want to die yet.
Gawain and his guide arrive at the edge of the forest, where Gawain is given one last opportunity to back down: “The place you’re going is… dangerous… no man may pass that way safely….Therefore, Sir Gawain, get out of here as fast as possible. ” (online version) Despite the guide’s assertions, Gawain presses on.
Gawain values honor above his life in this instance. Gawain is split into two opposing characters: the honorable Gawain on one side, and the frightened Gawain on the other. On one hand, there’s a noble Gawain who believes that duty outweighs one’s own life. On the other side is an anxious Gawain who feels that living being is more valuable than all of his accomplishments.