Sir Gawain and the Green Knight glorifies the affluence of King Arthur's court through elaborate detail and celebrates the virtues of the Pentangle that the knights swear to uphold. Then it challenges every mention of a virtue with an opposition: While everybody holds Sir Gawain to be the most honorable of all, he feels shameful; While his hostess befriends him, she also tempts him to sin; While the most evil Green Chapel towers like Satan's lair, it veritably stands as a sanctuary in which Gawain repents and is ironically saved instead (2196). And while the Green Knight, with his green skin and devious games, gives a semblance of the Devil, the biblical imagery insinuates an agency under God.
Despite his supernatural persona, he exhibits the qualities of mainly and most of all a man (141). These inconsistencies seem to challenge the preconceptions of knighthood and suggest a weakness within the Arthurian court, specifically the Christian notion that reliance on human morality alone may lead even the most devout men astray, leaving them vulnerable to Satan's schemes. The Green Knight's man-divine duality embodies precisely this spiritual struggle. And Gawain's journey to the Green Chapel mirrors his spiritual awakening from the Arthurian ideal to the realization of man's imperfect nature when he sees his own failure. However, because of his sincere contrition and desires to make amends, he meets all contingencies of a worthy confession and is saved in the end.
[...] "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." The Longman Anthology of British Literature Volume 1A 4th ed. 219-277. BibleGateway.com. Wycliffe Bible. www.biblegateway.com “Overview of Medieval and SCA Favors” by Lady Diane de Arden. [...]
[...] Gawain's fear of death also spurs the realization of his own frailty. His inability to kill the Green Knight certifies that man cannot defeat the supreme forces with human strength alone. His inability to stop time proves his helplessness against Nature. She prevails every time. She keeps pushing forward. She brings winter despite the protests within Gawain's heart. “Season after season” she proves that Nature is immortal, that Man is not, that life is a cycle, for it's way of the world” (530). [...]
[...] The Green Knight's man-divine duality embodies precisely this spiritual struggle. And Gawain's journey to the Green Chapel mirrors his spiritual awakening from the Arthurian ideal to the realization of man's imperfect nature when he sees his own failure. However, because of his sincere contrition and desires to make amends, he meets all contingencies of a worthy confession and is saved in the end. The green girdle symbolizes that repentance, as he wears it thereupon renewing himself as a better man. [...]
[...] If he is a tree, then the girdle is a fruit of that tree. While Eve tempts Adam with an apple, the hostess tempts Gawain with this girdle of invincibility. In both cases, the man consciously resigns to his sinful nature for the illicit reward. After eating the fruit, the shameful Adam hides from God just as Gawain hides the girdle from Bertilak. And like the naked Adam and Eve (Genesis the hostess enters Gawain's bedroom mostly nude. Her “face and fair throat were unveiled, Her breast was bare and her back as well” (1740-1). [...]
[...] He tells Gawain, are absolved of your (2393). Gawain's life is spared because he recognizes his own deficiency, abdicates his desires for life, and prescribes for himself a course of divine allegiance, thereby saving and renewing himself. In fact, the three blows offered by the Green Knight resemble the three sword strokes of a knighting ceremony when a new knight joins the court. In this ritual, Gawain joins God's court. He ties the sash on himself “like a baldric” (2486) as a reminder of his shame, and it falls over the Pentangle that he had earlier also brandished the baldric” creating the illusion of a slash right through the endless knot. [...]
using our reader.