"Sir Gawain and The Green Knight." By Sir Gawain

Essay by dgo14High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2003

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Sir Gawain and the Green Girdle

The distant effects brought upon by Sir Gawain keeping a Green Girdle are presented in the poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. There are several accounts where the main character, Sir Gawain, fights his inner human nature. Gawain is essentially a knight, and ultimately a human being that like all human beings, fears death. A green girdle given to him by a lord's lady in the end saves his life. However, Sir Gawain and his chivalric and courageous decision to wear a "magic" green girdle is the ultimate cause that leads to his near death experience.

In order to fully understand the event's that lead up to the girdle, one must know how Sir Gawain comes to challenge his own life. The poem begins with a huge festival and New Year's Eve dinner at King Arthur's Court in Camelot. Out of nowhere, a wondrous stranger, dressed entirely in green, with a gigantic ax in one hand, bursts into the hall.

While the court stares in stunned silence, the Green Knight demands a challenge. The challenge constitutes one blow of the ax to the Green Knight's head, in exchange, the volunteer will strike a return blow upon the volunteer in a "twelvemonth and a day." Eventually, Arthur agrees to play and begins to carry the ax up when out of nowhere, Gawain speaks out, "Would you grant me thy grace." The court agrees to let Gawain play. The Green Knight gives the ax to Sir Gawain, then exposes his neck for the blow. With one quick motion of the ax, the head rolled off the body, with "blood gush [ing] from the body, bright on the green." The Green Knight's body picks up the head, mounts his horse, and charges Sir Gawain; "Sir Gawain,