Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Endorsement of Homosexuality in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight College

While Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is, for the most part, a heroic poem about a heroic knight who resists temptation, the story also has an interesting dialogue on sexuality interwoven in its lines. From King Arthur’s “ebullience” (line 86) all the way to the sexually charged trades with the lord near the Green Knight’s residence, the poem can be taken to have a positive view of homosexuality, an almost unthinkable thing at the time. To find this endorsement of homosexuality, one must look at the portrayal of men in the story versus women, and take that thread to one of its many logical conclusions.

The poem opens with a description of a lavish Christmas party with the legendary Knights of the Round Table; the narrator takes great pains to describe the setting, and states that the Queen Guinevere was “studded with stones and stunning gems beyond pocket or purse… but not one stone outshone the quartz of the queen’s eyes.” (Lines 78-82) While this romantic description of Guinevere is breathtaking to think about, it has very little to do with her beauty. In fact, portraying her eyes as quartz, rather than a more suitable gem such as emerald or sapphire, gives Guinevere an almost alien, otherworldly feeling. We can compare this...

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