The Nature Behind the Green Knight example

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The Nature Behind the Green Knight

The Green Knight described in the Middle English chivalric romance Sir Gawain and The Green Knight can be rightly considered a mysterious figure. Despite the fact that the Knight does not inflict harm on others, he assumes the role of seducer and tempter, manipulating Sir Gawain into moral downfall. Throughout the poem, he Green Knight strives to entice King Arthur’s subjects into committing immoral deeds, taking advantage of their hubris and ambitiousness, which makes it possible to regard him as a satanic figure.

Since the beginning of the poem, the medieval author draws the audience’s attention to the atmosphere of pride and conceit reigning at King Arthur’s court. Arthur seems to be very pleased at the sight of the brave and mighty Knights surrounding him, as well as “the godly feast” organized by him at Christmastime. In such a way, the poet makes it clear that Arthur has everything to celebrate the life and enjoy the gifts it bestows upon him and his court. Nevertheless, instead of giving thanks to God, “the proudest of kings” succumbs to apathy and indulges in daydreaming (Fytte I, para. 3). He expects “some person” that could “demand of him… to join with him in jousting, to incur peril, to risk life against life” (Fytte I, para. 4). At such a moment, the Green Knight appears in front of the court. The mysterious Knight tempts the boldest gallants to hit him with an axe, on the condition that the challenger find him in one year to receive a blow in return. The tempter tests the knights’ bravery and urges them to commit a bloody act. It is possible to assume that in such a way the newcomer plays on other knights’ weaknesses, making them show the extent of their ambitiousness and self-assumption. Thus, the Green Knight makes the sin of pride thrive, which is indicative of his diabolic intentions.

As the poem progresses, the Knight continues to lead Sir Gawain, who volunteered to accept the challenge instead of Arthur, into temptation. Thus, in the beautiful castle, Sir Gawain finds himself seduced by the wife of the lord who provided the hero with food and shelter. The Green Knight makes the hostess entice Sir Gawain and thus betray the man who has been so kind to the traveler. The woman playfully hints that they are alone in the castle, that her husband is far away, which means that nothing can prevent them from doing what they want: “You are welcome to my person, to do whatever you wish; I am perforce, and must remain your servant” (Fytte III, para. 4). The wanton employs her sexuality and beauty to make Sir Gawain go down the wrong path.

The poet makes it evident that the lord’s wife knows that the knight considers her exceptionally beautiful, which allegedly makes him more susceptible to treachery. The woman is also aware of Sir Gawain’s fear of death. Therefore, she …

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