In medieval utilize, romance alluded to episodic poetry concerning with chivalry and the knight’s gallantries in a battle field as they guard and save appropriate women and withstand to supernatural challenges. The medieval metrical romances have resemblance to epics. However, medieval romances represents not a heroic age of tribal wars, yet a courtly or chivalric period of history including extremely advanced styles and gentility.
Their standard plot includes a solitary knight looking to win a contemptuous woman’s favor by undertaking a hazardous mission. Along the way, this knight experiences mysterious hermits, confronts evil black guards and brigands, kills beasts and dragons, contends anonymously in competitions, and suffers from wounds, starvation, hardship, and exposure in the wilderness. The stories, frequently about faithful lovers separated and inosculated after dangerous journeys. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is inscribed in a manner parallel to the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
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King Arthur included the components of love, mystery, gallantry, and psychology that have now come to be associated with romance. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is about a story that include a beheading game. Sir Gawain is Arthur’s knight and he accepts the challenge from the Green Knight for an exchange of blows. Gawain can strike him with his axe if he is prepared to accept a blow in return in one year’s time.
Gawain strikes off the Green Knight’s head, but in true fairy-tale fashion, the Green Knight picks up his head and, before he leaves, reminds Gawain to remember the appointment. Through symbol on the one hand and structure on the other, the poem dramatizes Gawain’s journey and the choices he must make en route. The idea of death, in fact, becomes a metaphor. “Death” in the poem involves a loss, but not a physical loss.
It is a dying to one kind of life (material), and the rebirth to another (spiritual). Consequently, within the poem, one never expects a “physical” death. Nevertheless, one does anticipate a loss which is somehow reated to the concept of the game . Since Gawain is the chief player, he is the one who loses something. The idea of losing one’s life to find it is, in a religious sense, the main theme cf Christianity.Arthur’s is a Christian court; thus, it is appropriate to find the basic tenets of the Christmas story enacted in Gawain’s adventure. Because of his pride, Gawain is made to realize his human imperfection after a series of tests in which he loses a false concepticn of himself and finds the promise of redemption through humility . Gawain’s physical journey from Arthur’s court to Bercilak’s castle is real.
But concomitant with the physical journey is the spiritual one. Thus, the journey can be seen on two levels: one adventurous and fanciful; the other somber and serious.Sir Gawain is looking for a shelter because of a long quest in Sir Bertilak de Hautdesert’s stronghold. For the three days Gawain stays in the castle. Incidentally ,Sir Bertilak was about to go hunting and he suggested a deal with Gawain.
In the afternoon they will exchange their winnings of the day. While Sir Bertilak is not at the castle, Sir Gawain got a visit by the lady of the house in his bedroom, where she makes an effort to provoke him. However, Sir Gawain stands out against her corrupting attempts. On The Exchange was a single kiss on the first day In the evening, Sir Bertilak brings home a deer, which he giveaways to Sir Gawain. He gets a kiss in return from Gawain but Gawain doesn’t unclose how he acquired the kiss, because that was not part of the suggestion. Last day, eventually, the woman impels her attempts once again but finally accepts defeat, except that besides to 3 kisses she also gives Sir Gawain a girdle of green and gold silk, which, as she provides him, will protect his life as long as he keeps it secret.
His shield and the girdle “initiate two sequences which form a major structural parallel in ths poem. The shield reminds us of spirituality while the girdle calls to mind the things of the flesh. The shield and the girdle are symbolic of Gawain’s moral dilemma. The shield evokes the chivalric ideal. As a wordly object, it reminds the knight of his duty to his lord. Gawain’s shield also carries on it the portrait of Mary. Since it also carries potrait of Mary, it serves to remind him of his duty to God.The narrative in general is an account of a serious test of Sir Gawain’s chivalry, loyalty, and honour.
First of all, having accepted the Green Knight’s challenge, he is faced with a serious dilemma. If he backs out, he loses his honour, and if he does not, he is certain he will lose his life. And within this test he is faced with an almost equally serious dilemma, the lady’s seductive advances. If he gives in to her seduction, he loses his honour, and if he does not, he is discourteous towards his hostess.For Gawain the girdle points out his recently explored awareness of his human weakness. For those at Camelot, the girdle is an ornament of honor. So although Gawain goes back to Camelot, he no longer ”belongs” there in the sense that he once did. His journey into him self has made him a better man, even for his deficiency.
Moreover, it is in coming to terms with his weakness that he comes closer to the ideal of perfection and puts away his false vanity. Imperfection has showed him that true excellence is not within man’s grasp. It is only in the struggle toward an unreachable ideal that, as Christian man, he can become not Christ, but Christ-like.