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Saving Honor

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dokie33
Words 1689
Pages 7
Saving Honor The poem, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, shows how one of Camelot’s most revered knights, Sir Gawain, will fight for his life, honor, and dignity. Camelot, King Arthur, and The Knights of The Round Table are all names synonymous with all that is good. During the fourteenth century, the knights are expected to have honor and respect for all citizens and Sir Gawain is the epitome of honor. Gawain does not think highly of himself but sustains a high status with knights being a blood relative of King Arthur. By story’s end, Gawain will question if he maintains his honor, respect, and dignity in a fight for his life. The poem opens with Arthur, the knights, and some members of the community celebrating the new year when an unknown knight arrives in the kingdom. The narrator describes him as, “giant” in stature: he, his horse, and his ax are all green, but with a green armor outlined in gold. He calls out his challenge, “give me a well-aimed stroke, and agree / To accept another in repayment when my turn / Arrives” (1. 294-296). Eager to prove his bravery to his uncle, the king, Gawain accepts the challenge. He understands that he will face the same fate one year later and takes the Green Knight’s ax, swings with all his might, and beheads him. At the moment, the hubris of Gawain is at the highest level. Gawain thinks it may be the end of his challenge, but the Green Knight retrieves his head from the floor and tells Gawain to meet him a year to the date at the Green Chapel. The “game” will test not only Gawain’s honor but his integrity and honesty. Part two shows that the seasons are changing and so are the feelings of the knights and Gawain. The seasonal change symbolizes the changes in the demeanor of knights and Gawain: “Grieving for the love of Gawain, but laughing / And drinking his name, smiling and joking / While their hearts sank gray and...

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