Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight utilizes the convention of the French-influenced romance. What sets this work apart from regular Arthurian or chivalric romances is the poet's departure from this convention. The clearest departure takes place at the resolution of the piece as the hero, Sir Gawain, is stricken with shame and remorse rather than modest knightly pride, even after facing what appears to be certain death and returning to his king alive and well. Although this manner of closure would leave much to be desired for an audience who is interested in reading a ridigly conventional romance, the coexistence of the romantic convention with the departure from it inspires questions concerning why the author would choose to work within such guidelines and what the significance is of breaching those guidelines. By employing the chivalric convention in romantic literature and then going beyond it to reveal other ways of thinking, the writer challenges the very notion of chivalric conventions of the surrounding social climate.

He demonstrates throughout the work a need for balance. As symbolied by the pentangle worn by Sir Gawain, representing the balanced points of chivalric virture, each being codependent of the other in order to remain a whole, the narrative could be considered as a

What accompanies an appreciation for the seemingly sudden shift from the typical romance at the end of the piece is the raised awareness that the change does only seem to be sudden. Careful exlporation of the plot, setting, and character descriptions illuminates several deviations from the established convention of the ideal society existing within the text. The effect is then a type of balancing act-- blah blah blah

The opening of the piece sets a fairly typical stage for an Anthurian romance, giving relevant historical and geographical information. King Arthur's court is...