English 12-7 Honors
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has many examples of chivalry in it. One of those examples is when Sir Gawain takes the challenge presented to King Arthur. This is an example of the first part in the Code of Chivalry. This same event is also an example of the second part of the Code of Chivalry, responsibility to the king. The Code of Chivalry states that knights are to have respect for the Christian faith. This is shown by the reference to God. Being generous is also a part of the code. King Arthur shows this with the party he is throwing. The code also says that knights should be brave in battle; Sir Gawain shows this bravery by standing in front of the Green Knight without fear. As you can see, there are many examples of chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
The world of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is governed by well-defined codes of behavior. The code of chivalry, in particular, shapes the values and actions of Sir Gawain and other characters in the poem. The ideals of chivalry derive from the Christian concept of morality, and the proponents of chivalry seek to promote spiritual ideals in a spiritually fallen world. The ideals of Christian morality and knightly chivalry are brought together in Gawain’s symbolic shield. The pentangle represents the five virtues of knights: friendship, generosity, chastity, courtesy, and piety. Gawain’s adherence to these virtues is tested throughout the poem, but the poem examines more than Gawain’s personal virtue; it asks whether heavenly virtue can operate in a fallen world. What is really being tested in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight might be the chivalric system itself, symbolized by Camelot. Arthur’s court depends heavily on the code of chivalry, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight gently criticizes the fact that chivalry values appearance and symbols over truth. Arthur is introduced to us as the “most courteous of all,” indicating...
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