Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Literary Analysis

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12th Grade AP Literature and Composition
Gawain vs. Gawain
Man has battled with many foes during his long time on his earth. He has fought ferocious beasts. He has trekked through harsh and unforgiving climates that swallow men home. Man has even combated with his own comrades of humanity. However, the biggest battle that man has, is, and will ever fight is the battle within him. Man is in a constant struggle between what is right and wrong. He struggles with morality and corruption. He always has some struggle within the mind and the soul, and no other man understands this inner struggle more than Sir Gawain. There are many occurrences in this poem where Gawain immensely struggles with himself. Some where he struggles with his chivalrous principles and others where he fights himself for the will to live. One incident where the battle of the mind occurs is when he is finally sent off on his quest to seek the Green Castle where the Green Knight awaits. Armed with horse and shield, Gawain sets off alone into the unknown wilderness. “– few were within that had great good will toward God or man.” (SGGK 701-702) Man is typically a social being. We communicate with each other, befriend one another, and, more importantly, thrive and live off of each other. When man is alone, there is only one person who he can rely on. That person is his own self. It is very important to notice that Gawain was, indeed, alone on this quest. Gawain struggles with the hardships, mentally and physically, with loneliness. With every second that goes by, Gawain falls deeper and deeper into a state of hopelessness. While he battles this loneliness within himself, he is also fighting a physical battle. Wild beasts, from boars to giants, continually attack the lost knight. The beasts ravage not only his body, but also his mind. He fights for his survival, and he is constantly reminded of the pain that is deep inside him. He soon begins to lose the will to live and is brought to his knees....
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