"Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight" and "The Beanstalk, Meditated Later" are two poems that share similar conventions. Using famous fairy tales as reference and having the main characters from the tales as subjects, the poets, Yvor Winters and Judith Wright admirably translate the tales into modern experiences.
Both poems are spoken through the subjects, Sir Gawaine and Jack. The subjects possess unique voices and characteristics, and are faced by fearful antagonists who threaten the subjects' beliefs, challenging the subjects to defend their current position.
Sir Gawaine represents an honorable hero who carries attributes of courage, endurance, and faithfulness. "He bent his head, and so I smote;" (2) The green knight is the antagonist who Sir Gawaine must face.
Reptilian green the wrinkled throat,
Green as a bough of yew the beard;
(1 - 2)
As the green knight hands forth the challenge, Gawaine accepts the green knight's challenge despite the knight's fearful appearance.
Even though the challenge might cost Gawaine his life, he does not hesitate to accept it.
And yet what thoughtless force was mine! (20)
My own identity remained. (24)
Had grafted laurel in my bone. (28)
While an incredibly beautiful woman seduces him continuously, Sir Gawaine is still able to endure the temptation and keep his own virtue. "I understood what I must dare." (8) After Sir Gawaine experiences the invulnerability of the green knight, he keeps to his words.
As Sir Gawaine is described, the green knight represents an image of an invincible monster (still able to walk off after being beheaded), having a disgusting green color ('green' is used twice to describe the green knight). Also, in using vibrant language like 'reptilian' and 'yew' to describe the appearance of the green knight, Sir Gawaine perceives the green knight as a symbol of...