Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Death and the Green Knight: Closer Than They Appear

"Everyman" and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" are without doubt two of the best-known works of medieval English literature. The stories demonstrate the epitome of the Christian themes of salvation, mortality, and truth that resonate throughout the genre. In this light, Death and the Green Knight both perform the same allegorical duties, though they exhibit drastically different personalities.

Clearly, the two characters would not be hard to discern between to a casual observer. The Green Knight is simply not bound by the formalities of civilization; instead, he is ever rude and arrogant. He is first introduced entering Arthur's hall: "There hurtles in at the door an unknown rider" (136). The Green Knight doesn't knock, nor does he ask permission to enter---no, he "hurtles" into the fine, formal hall on his horse, arrogantly challenging the king and his court: "But if you be so bold as all men believe, / You will graciously grant the game that I ask by right" (272-4). After boasting of his powerful weapons and skill, the Knight asserts that it is his right to fight and demand proof of the king's power. The Green Knight is apparently afraid of no one, and he wants...

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