• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Morals of a Knight, An Essay on "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight".

Extracts from this document...


The Morals of a Knight An Essay on "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" By: Carly Young For: D. Laird Course: Engl. 211 Due: Sept. 25, 2003 Carly Young English 211 D. Laird Due: Sept. 25, 2003 The Morals of a Knight An Essay on "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" To be covetousness is to have a great desire for wealth and possessions, either of your own or belonging to someone else. In the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," "Gawain, bound to chivalry, is torn between his knightly edicts, his courtly obligations, and his mortal thoughts of self preservation" (2). Thus, a main theme of covetousness versus being a noble and honorable knight is developed as Gawain moves through northwest Britain in search of the Green Knight. The idea of "temptation is an ancient Celtic theme, and retains its purpose to test the worth of the Christian knight" (1). ...read more.


1195-1202) Gawain is then made to decide between being chivalrous or committing adultery. Never the less he returns the three kisses that were given to him by the lady and therefore passes the first test. However, even though Gawain has passed this test a morality conflict has developed within him, "revealing that his knightly edicts and supposed courtliness are of no use in a situation of adversity" (2). Gawain then approaches a second conflict between self-preservation and honor, when he is presented with the third test. He has begun to worry about his life, and the more he thinks of it being in the hands of the Green Knight he wonders what he will do to help himself. When he at first is offered a gold ring by Morgan le Fay he denies it, "Before God, good lady, I forgo all gifts" (ll. 1822). Then Gawain is presented with Morgan le Fay's girdle "I shall give you my girdle; you gain less thereby" (ll.1829) ...read more.


by not giving up the girdle. Gawain however confesses his sins to the Green Knight and begs to be pardoned, Bertilak states to Gawain "your failings made known" (ll. 2391); thereafter he voluntarily wears the girdle as a symbol of his sin. Gawain sees how covetousness has over come him, and he allowed for the power of wealth and possessions to become more important than honor, and nobility. Gawain comes to acknowledge the problematic nature of courtly ideals. "Due to him repenting his sin however in such an honorable manner his one imprudence in the poem actually ends up being an example of his basic goodness" (3). In conclusion, covetousness has played a huge theme in Sir Gawain's actions, and therefore lessons which are learned through the poem. The idea of a Knight being noble, honorable and chivalrous is societies applied pressures and conformations, thus the importance of upholding these traditions is very important. We see the commitment made by Gawain when he confesses his sins, "Be hold there my falsehood, ill hap betide it!" (ll. 2378), and thus he has learned to not let covetousness take over his courtly obligations. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Medieval section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Medieval essays

  1. Virtue and the 'endless figure' in the works of the Pearl-poet. The Pearl-poets works ...

    'cortayse' is the most important or significant of the five, a premise which would destroy the entire symbol. This proves to be meaningful in terms of the adventure of Gawain in that his strict adherence to 'cortayse' brings him very close to endangering the other virtues of the pentangle at various times in the tale.

  2. Dantes Divine Comedy. Discuss what you consider to be the most important allegorical features ...

    Developing this from a story into an allegory is the image of the chariot hauled by horses, in the classical period; this was allegorized by Plato in the Phaedrus - as the chariot allegory. To begin 'Let me say right now that it is certain as these things can be that Dante had no direct knowledge of the Phaedrus.

  1. Chaucers presentation of Troilus and Criseydes love reflects the insurmountable influences of the conventional ...

    union and it is at this point - rather poignantly - that Chaucer reveals a shift in the relationship of the lovers. It is clear that Troilus is no longer playing Cupid's game of conquest but that he is actually in love.

  2. The main characters in Le Roman de la Rose and Sir Gawain and the ...

    "no busy man can lead that life" (Lewis 121), no busy man can find the time to fall in love; as well as all the company of Pleasure "is fair and courteous and well instructed" (Lorris 11), every person in court should also be like that.

  1. Free essay

    Commentary on lines 305-338 of Sir Orfeo. While at first glance the details in ...

    when Heurodis sees Orfeo she cannot talk to him and she cries she is then ushered away from him insisting she is in fact not free like a bird. It is also surprising that there is no men hunting, there is only ladies.

  2. 'It is clear...that Chaucer used the couple relationship as a kind of open field ...

    he is trying so hard to achieve via his seminal vernacular work. The didactic verisimilitude of the theme is therefore irrevocably entwined with the structure. Both the Miller and the Wife are of the lower orders of medieval society and the Wife carries the additional contemporary 'burden' of her sex.

  1. Discuss how this short passage represents the theme of shame and show the ...

    However, it is the use of the word ?heart?, along with the repeated vivid description found in the extract, that encourages the reader to sympathize with Gawain

  2. Comparing Beowulf with the Green Knight

    He praises God before his death as he states, ?To the everlasting Lord of all, to the King of Glory, I give thanks that I behold this treasure here in front of me, that I have been allowed to leave my people so well endowed on the day I die.?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work