Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Clash of Ideas: Christian Morals Against Human Nature College

While Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, chivalric romance by Pearl Poet, might seem as no more than a tale about heroic quest of the noble knight, an observant reader would notice a number of deeper issues discussed in this work. Perhaps the most curious question raised in the poem is Pearl Poet’s criticism of the unrealistic values of the dwellers of Camelot. The author shows gentle criticism of the obsession with appearance and implies that in the final battle between nature and nurture even the most selfless aspirations for the elevated ideas do not overweight simple needs of the human nature. This struggle between natural impulses and endeavor for the greater good is represented by a charming metaphor of the conflict between pagan beliefs and Christian moral standards. At the same time, the poet does not dismiss derived from religion values but insists that despite their greatest efforts people are still children of the Nature and should understand, accept, and remember that.

Throughout the poem Pearl Poet criticizes the widespread overvaluation of appearance and glamour over truth and action. During Christmas feast the pompous charm of the court is dimmed by the overpowering light of the Green Knight. For example, at the...

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