Sir Gawain and the green knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a fanciful tale of Sir Gawain, a young noble knight of King Arthurs round table, and his adventures to hold up a challenge made by a mysterious Green Knight. This epic poem is not your usual story of adventure, the challenge that the Green Knight gives Gawain is more about integrity and bravery. (Silverstein, 29) In the book Gawain comes across a lords manor and takes refuge there, The lord gives him another test of integrity before he shows Gawain the way to the Green Knights Chapel. The story takes place in Camelot at King Arthurs court of the round table. This king lay at Camelot at Christmas-tide with many a lovely lord (The authoritative translation, 26).
The halls in Camelot were full of joy on Christmas as the knights of the round table made merry. The book goes through detail of the Christmas celebration.
Arthur was the host and all his guests were the inhabitants of Camelot. They ate and drank merrily through the first course as the traveling bards played joyous music. But then there passed through the portals a perilous horseman (The authoritative translation, 28).
This great man was thought by the men in that court as the Mightiest man in middle earth (28).
... quite normal to the Knights of the round table. Time passes and Sir Gawain will soon have to face the Green Knight. When the time comes ... , but as the ax is dropping, Gawain flinches. The Green Knight stops, and says that this cannot be Sir Gawain, who was never afraid. The ... was messing herself when the ax blade was swinging. Gawain returns to Camelot wearing the girdle as a sign of repentance and ...
But the most astonishing spectacle was the hue that this mighty man was. He was completely green, his locks of hair were green , his skin, his clothes, even his steed.
All the men in the court stared at this great green knight not knowing what to think. He carried no armor for protection but he did carry a holly bundle, which in those days was a peace offering, and a great axe. The books describes this axe in great detail, a branch of green steel and of beaten gold; the bit, burnished bright and broad at the edge (The authoritative translation, 30).
He presented a challenge to the court, There is no man here to match me if so bold be his blood or his brain be so wild, that he stoutly dare strike one stroke for another, then I will give him as my gift this guisarm costly, this axe(32).
This greatly offended king Arthur and he stood up to accept the challenge. But one of his many brave knights stepped up to the challenge, in order to protect the king from his anger, and his name was Sir Gawain. He grabbed the axe from the mysterious Green knight, the Green knight knelt down and Gawain swung the axe severing the head from the body of the knight, let it swiftly land where twas naked, so that the sharp of his blade shivered the bones, and sank clean through the clear fat and clove it asunder( The authoritative translation, 35).
Although the head fell from the knights body the body stood firm as ever. And to the amazement of everyone the headless knight stood up strode over to his head picked it up and mounted his hoarse. King Arthur took the mighty guisarm and placed it above his court to remember that magical night. Gawain put off worry for the year but when the time of All Hollows came he left the court at Camelot. (Howard, 209) He was suited in his best armor, which was covered in five pointed stars acknowledging his five senses among other things. He rode aimlessly searching for the Chapel of the Green Knight until four days before Christmas. He came across a great castle where he was greeted by the manors lord and all the his servants with the most hospitality that he had ever seen before.
... possession of the Green Knight.He then redefines it as a token "of the great adventure at the Green chapel" (2399). Gawain takes it up ... , that is to say, on his fidelity to Lord Bertilak. Secondly, after the Green Knight reveals the meaning of the test, he states ... , on the first day he says, "Thus by the forest borders the brave lord sported, and the good man Gawain, on his gay ...
He stayed there for one night and had a great feast. When the people of the lords manor found out that he was Sir Gawain of the Round Table they treated him with thrice the respect that he came in with. He met the lords wife and an old charming lady who pampered him as much as possible, They took him between them (The authoritative translation, 49) the next day as he was getting ready to leave he found out that the lord knew where the Chapel of the Green Knight was and could lead him there in only an hour or two because it was only a few miles off. This made it possible for Gawain to stay at the manor for the next three days. But for those three days he went through a new test. (Miller, 74) The lord of the manor proposed that they make a trade, the lord would go hunting all day for the three days and give Gawain all that he caught but in return Gawain had to stay home, with the lords wife, and give the lord all that he received. (Silverstein, 117) This sounded like an easy task for Gawain and so he accepted the proposal, Thus in his game the lord goes under greenwood eaves, and Gawain the bold lies in the goodly bed (The authoritative translation, 54).
On the first day of the hunt the lord brings back many trophies as Gawain lays in bed talking, flirting, with his wife. Although the normal thing to do in Gawains case would be to make an advance on these fair women he doesnt, knowing where he stood.
So in return for his gesture he receives a kiss. When the lord returns they trade what they have won for the day, a kiss for game. They have a great feast and make merry with all the game the lord had caught. On the second day the lord goes out and catches the largest wild boar in the forest, while Gawain receives two kisss instead of one. That night they exchange gifts just as they did the previous night. On the third day the lord catches but a fox.
Gawain on the other hand gets a priceless silk, whoever goes girdled with this green riband, while he keeps it well clasped closely about him, there is none so hardy under heaven that to hew him unable; for he could not be killed by any cunning of hand (71).
The fair maiden makes Gawain promise not to show this silk to anyone, he promises and she leaves the room. Later that night the lord comes back with the fox and gives it to Gawain but Gawain does not tell the lord about the priceless silk. (Miller, 98) They feast and make marry for tomorrow brought the day in which Gawain would have to go and face the Green Knight. All in the manor raise early that morn to bid farewell to Gawain. The lord and Gawain set out to find the Green Chapel. On their way the lord asks again if Gawain had received anything more at his manor.
... understand the poems imagery. 5) Hollis, Stephanie. "The Pentangle Knight: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Chaucer Review. 15 (1981): 267-281. Hollis discusses ... , gives to the lord. The second day brings with it the struggle to maintain the knights virtue. Once again Gawain attempts to hold off ...
(Howard, 182) Gawain holding true to his promise to the maiden and not to his promise to the lord says that he received nothing more than the kiss. They reach the Green Chapel and the lord leaves Gawain to take the blow. But get busy , I beg, sir, and bring me to the point. Deal me my destiny (The authoritative translation, 82).
Gawain kneels on the ground to take the blow from the Green Knight and as the knight swings Gawain dodges the blow. This showed that Gawain could not hold true to his promise.
He knelt again and the knight swung the axe. The mighty blow barely sliced his neck making blood splatter over the white snow but Gawain was not dead. The blow was meant to scare Gawain, for soon Gawain realized that the lord of the manor and the mighty Green Knight were the same men. by the might of Morgan Le Fay that in my mansion dwelleth, and by cunning of lore and crafts well learned(86).
The famous Lady of the Lake had set this mighty test on the Knights of the Round Table, this was not a test of strength but of integrity and Sir Gawain failed miserably. The scar on his neck reminded him forever to hold true to his word and so did the silk.
He ventured back to the court of Camelot, shamefully telling the knights his tale. From that day on in the Round table the men wore a green silk to remember to always hold your integrity at its highest. (Silverstein, 94) The poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, was a tale of Gawains trials through the challenge of the Green Knight, how he let his integrity slip at the manor of Bertilak de Hautdesert, and how the Lady of the Lake tested the morals of the Knights of the Round Table. I personally loved this book and thought it was a great tale of fantasy and morals.
The authoritative translation of Sir Gawain, by Marie Borroff of Harvard University. W. W.
Norton & Co. 1967 Miller, MY, et al. Eds. Approaches to Teaching Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1986. Silverstein, Theodore, Ed.
... up the victor in almost every test of chivalry that Gawain is put in by the Green Knight. The Green Knight maintains his chivalric duties to ... personality of Bertilak de Hautdesert. As is shown in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, misconceptions of reality can pose a threat to the ... he seemed /And swift to strike and stun /His dreadful blows, men deemed, /Once dealt, meant death were done.” He is ...
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, A Comedy for Christmas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Howard, DR, et al Eds. Critical Studies of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Notre Dame:University of Notre Dame Press, 1968.