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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

In part four of this tale the theme that is advanced is chivalry, honor and human weakness. As Gawain goes to meet the Green Knight we get the feeling of dread by the authors description of the weather outside. It is bitterly cold and snowing. The wind is whipping around Gawain as he travels (115). The extreme weather reminds us that Gawain is going to face something just as ominous. As Gawain dresses for his meeting he binds his love token ( the green girdle) twice around his middle. He is somber as he prepares for his impending death. His sense of honor is what binds him to this meeting that will certainly be his death, so he thinks (117). Gawain is steadfast in his desire to fulfill his promise to meet the Green Knight.

The guide pleads to Gawain that he will surely be killed if he continues on his mission and he tells Gawain to just leave and ride off in some other country rather than be killed (121). Gawain reaveals to us, yet again, his chivalry when he says that he would face his destiny rather than be a disgrace (121). When Gawain finally reaches the chapel of the Green Knight he is met with a roar. The Green Knight proceeds to play games with Gawain in an attempt to test his bravery and chivalry (127-128). The fact that Gawain did not retreat and run after several attempts were faked reveals how honorable Gawain was.

It is not until the Green Knight actually takes a blow at Sir Gawain's neck that we see that the green girdle worked its magic. Only to Gawain's dismay is it revealed to him by the Green Knight that it was all a test set up to show if Gawain was truly an brave an honorable Knight (133).

Gawain is devastated by his weakness and lack of honor and cowardice revealed by his hiding the green girdle from the master. He begins to repent and chastise himself for his failings. This reveals his human weakness that is in all of us. He is very humbled by his behavior (133). Gawain returns to Camelot and shows them his scar and describes that he received it for his dishonesty. He tells them all about the green girdle and how tormented he is by his lack of bravery. He says he must wear the green girdle as a symbol of being caught being dishonest. He wants to be reminded not to let the root of dishonesty take hold (141).

In this fitt the theme of honor and bravery were evidenced throughout the sequence



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