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The Truth Behind the Knight: the Presence of Archetypes in Sir Gawain & the Green Knight

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The Truth Behind the Knight: The Presence of Archetypes in Sir Gawain & the Green Knight

In the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, we are introduced to a young man, who, like many of young men, is trying to discover himself and travel through his rite of passage. He is trying to figure out who he is in life, and while in his journey, passes through many phases that mold him into one of the great Knights of the Round Table that old King Arthur wanted to serve with him. These phases affect everyone at some point in their lives. Whether it causes someone to take an iconoclastic stand against a certain more or folkway or if it enables a person to give serious thought to what life could mean, archetypes enable any protagonist in any story to take a journey to find the treasure of their true self. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain was willing to take on the heroic quest and say yes to himself and, in doing so, became more fully alive and more effective to the knightly community and, inadvertently, the literary world. The purpose of the heroic quest is to find the gift retrieved from the journey and give the gift to help transform the kingdom, and in the process, the hero himself. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, three archetypes are present that displays the qualities of a heroic quest that leads Gawain to become a true knight in shining armor. The Innocent Hero Archetype, the Seeker Archetype, and the Lover Archetype forms the mold that Sir Gawain conforms to that makes him fulfill the quest and earn the honor of a literary classic.
The Innocent Hero Archetype is present when describing how Gawain acts and thinks during his journey. It is characterized by the gifts of trust, optimism, and loyalty (Pearson 71). Heroes that are innocent usually are prone to trust life, themselves and other people. It enables them to keep their faith in their...

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