Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:
Sir Gawain Faces Temptation
Sir Gawain was known as a noble and honest man who was willing to stare death in the face to protect King Arthur. However, the courtly Sir Gawain is submitted to the unexpected—not to the test he expects, but to one he does not expect (qtd. in Spearing). The underlying theme throughout the entire poem is temptation, which, is Sir Gawain’s greatest challenge because he is not aware of it.
He faltered not nor feared
But quickly went his way,
His road was rough and weird,
Or so the stories say. (qtd. Stone 47)
Sir Gawain stands up just as the Green Knight challenges King Arthur. Gawain saves his uncle from the humiliation the Green Knight imposes on the King from his badgering; for this Gawain is very brave. He has no fear in approaching the Green Knight and accepting the game. Sir Gawain was a man who was held in high esteem before the people at Camelot. Thus, he was given the title Sir Gawain, which sealed his noble existence. A knight is a man who, for some achievement, is given honorary rank and thus entitling him to use Sir before his given name (qtd. in Webster’s pg. 747).
King Arthur was a very honorable man, one with boyish spirits and youthful persona. The King also displays his humble nature when at the table, he refused to begin eating before any of his guests. However, when the Green Knight confronts him he does not cower before him.
He raged as roaring gale;
His followers felt the same.
The King, not one to quail,
To that cavalier then came.
The Green Knight was described as a handsome, muscular man. Because every article of clothing the Green Knight wore was green, including his skin and hair, he is reminiscent of a fertility god. This idea of a fertility god plays a role when introducing the theme of temptation on the behalf of the Lord’s wife. He was very confident and witty.
Green and huge of grain,
Mettlesome in might
And brusque with bit and rein-
A steed to serve that knight!
The opposition between Sir Gawain and the Green Knight began when the knight entered the kings hall on New Years Eve. He challenged anyone present to strike him with an axe, providing that he could do the same...