Sir gawain and the green knight summary and analysis

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sir gawain and the green knight summary and analysis

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo by Unknown

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl are two poems by an unknown author written in about 1400. Sir Gawain is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; but it is also much more than this, being at the same time a powerful moral tale which examines religious and social values.

Pearl is apparently an elegy on the death of a child, a poem pervaded with a sense of great personal loss: but, like Gawain it is also a sophisticated and moving debate on much less tangible matters.

Sir Orfeo is a slighter romance, belonging to an earlier and different tradition. It was a special favourite of Tolkiens. The three translations represent the complete rhyme and alliterative schemes of the originals.
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Sir Gawain and the Green knight analysis

This Green Knight tells the court that he desires their participation in a game, in which he and one of the knights present will trade axe blows.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Summary

Arthur, however, refuses to eat until he has witnessed something marvelous or heard a great adventure story. As if that weren't weird enough, he's riding a gigantic green horse and carrying an elaborately-decorated axe. Stunned by the total weirdness of his request, no one volunteers. The Green Knight mocks them cruelly, calling out Arthur himself to take up the challenge. So Sir Gawain volunteers himself. Gawain brings the axe down on the Green Knight, chopping his head off.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight establishes the setting firmly in Arthurian Britain by means of a lengthy description of the legendary history of Britain. Britain is a land of great wonders and strife, but King Arthur has established a court of utmost nobility and chivalry, peopled with the bravest knights and fairest ladies. A rich description of the celebration follows, where the poet carefully conveys luxurious details of decoration and attire. There is the incomparably beautiful Queen Guinevere , Arthur himself, and seated in honor around them, various noble knights and relatives of Arthur, including Sir Gawain. We learn that Arthur does not like to begin his feasts until he has heard a great tale or witnessed a great marvel. Indeed, in the midst of the feasting, a wondrous stranger bursts into the hall.

The 2, lines of this poem are arranged in stanzas of unequal length, each of which contains a number 0f long alliterative lines followed by five short lines rhyming alternately Ababa , the first having one stress and the remaining four having each three. The knights are amazed and silent, and Arthur himself is driven to volunteer, but Gawain, a model of courtesy, nobility, and courage, steps in and gives the blow. A year passes, and we see the earth changing from winter to spring, then to summer, then to autumn, with angry winds and leaves falling from the tree, and finally to winter again. On the way, he seeks shelter at a castle and is handsomely entertained there by the lord and lady. Each morning the lord goes off to hunt and his hunting is described in lively detail; Gawain stays in the castle and is tempted by the lady who wants him to make love to her. He has a difficult time retaining his perfect courtesy and at the same time repulsing her advances, but he goes no further than allowing her to kiss him. Gawain and the Lord have promised to exchange with each other whatever they gain during the day, and in accordance with this bargain, the Lord gives Gawain the animals he has killed in the hunt and Gawain gives the lord the kisses.

Plot Overview

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Middle English romance poem written by an anonymous West Midlands poet also credited with a lot of other poems written during that time. This story is emblematic of life; how it issues tests and challenges and the consequences rendered as a result of failing or succeeding these challenges. Sir Gawain is a very symbolic character; symbolic in the sense that he represents innocence in life.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight follows a classic quest formula, with a knight receiving a challenge, going out on a journey to meet that challenge, and returning home to report on his quest. At Christmas, a knight who is completely green rides into King Arthur's hall. The Green Knight proposes a game: Any knight brave enough to strike off the Green Knight's head may keep the Green Knight's ax, but that man must accept a return stroke in one year. Gawain accepts the challenge and cuts off the Green Knight's head. The knight picks up his severed head and leaves, telling Gawain to look for the Green Chapel. Near the end of the allotted year, Gawain sets out in search of the Green Chapel. He finds a castle in the wilderness.

4 thoughts on “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo by Unknown

  1. During a New Year’s Eve feast at King Arthur’s court, a strange figure, referred to only as the Green Knight, pays the court an unexpected visit. As soon as Arthur grips the Green Knight’s axe, Sir Gawain leaps up and asks to take the challenge himself. The lord of the castle.

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