John Gardner's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a romance that shares elements with modern day stories, such as Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. Both romances consist of an idealized hero who fight and conquer the forces of evil. Each includes a female figure that tempts the hero, whether for good or otherwise. And lastly, both heroes undergo a quest brought forth to test their heroic manner and quality. Romances from the past shine their quality through similar superheroes from today's society.
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain showed heroic quality because, for love of his king, he took the Green Knight's challenge. "Gawain refuses to let the king give up his life." (pg.158) This shows Sir Gawain's courage, for no man except Arthur himself dared to accept the knight's test. Although he is certain he is headed for his death, he fulfills the challenge and holds true to his word.
Much like Sir Gawain's devotion to his king, is Cyrano from Cyrano de Bergerac, who devotes himself to his love, Roxanne. Cyrano, like Gawain, stands with courage and holds true to his principles in the face of death. Like Gawain refused to let the king die, Cyrano refused to let his love not meet Roxanne. Because he felt that she could not love him because of his poor image, he loved her through Christian, who had the looks she desired. "Was he not a great lover, a great man, a hero?" (Pg. 170) Although Roxanne is portraying Christian, Cyrano was the hero behind Christian's image. In both stories a hero is portrayed that devotes himself to a person that he shows love or gratitude for.
Secondly, most romances have a temptress who antagonizes the hero. In Sir Gawain and the...