Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain's Character

In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," Sir Gawain is King Arthur’s nephew and one of Camelot’s most famous knights. However, unlike other characters of medieval literature, Gawain is not ideal and static but human and real. Gawain is the epitome of virtues in fit one and fit two, but in fit three he conceals the green girdle from the host that was given to him by the host’s wife. This shows that Gawain values his own life more than his honesty. Sir Gawain, therefore, was doomed to fail from the beginning, starting out as the ideal knight and character to being tested and trapped in order for him to become real and human. These changes are observed from the challenge and the quest with the Green Knight, the stay at the castle, and the final meeting with the Green Knight.

Sir Gawain is introduced at the very beginning as the nephew of King Arthur sitting next to Guinevere, King Arthur’s wife, at a feast. The Green Knight had come in, issuing a Yuletide game to anyone in the court. Anyone who accepted the challenge would be able to use the knight’s axe or any weapon he chose to swing at the knight’s head; however, a similar strike would be given to the striker a year and a day later. At first, nobody accepts this...

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