Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Chivalry vs. Basic Instincts in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

As is the case with almost every example of romantic epics, and certainly every story concerning King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the characters carefully observe a strict code of ethics, or chivalry. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain and his peers hold values such as courtesy, loyalty, and honor in high esteem. This respect for the chivalric code is apparent in many instances throughout the poem, such as when King Arthur accepts the dangerous challenge from the Green Knight to save face in front of his knights and the strangers, as well as to live up to his name as a brave man. It is even more obvious in Sir GawainÃÂÂs wish to take his kingÃÂÂs place in the Christmas game that the knight has great veneration for honor and loyalty. Sir Gawain attempts to live his life morally, humbly, and in accordance with Christian teachings. Such reverence for civilization and societyÃÂÂs order falls apart in the second half of the story when Sir Gawain visits the castle of Lord Bercilak.

Although Sir Gawain attempts to adhere to societyÃÂÂs standards, the atmosphere of the castle causes the basic needs for food, sex, and a will to live to overcome the desire for structure and civility. The castle of Lord Bercilak...

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