Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Charles Darwin once said that, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain is an honest and chivalrous knight, as seen in his pentangle, “The fifth five I find the famous man practiced Were – Liberality and Lovingkindness leading the rest; Then his Continence and Courtesy, which were never corrupted; And Piety, the surpassing virtue” (Gawain, 651-654). Sir Gawain’s chivalrous character seems superficial and wasted to some individuals because it means he cannot live a fulfilled life. In the words of Darwin, this would mean that Sir Gawain does not understand what the value of life is. Certain green objects, such as the green girdle, the Green Knight’s accoutrement, and the Green Chapel, represent the quest of truth in Gawain’s character and the understanding of the value of life, which is the ability to learn from mistakes and continuously grow as life goes on. The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight begins with a mythical creature, the Green Knight, interrupting a New Year’s feast in King Arthur’s court. We can see that this green knight is the symbol for corruption and dangerousness, in comparison to the symbolism of Arthur’s court, including Sir Gawain, being orderliness and safety. He is clothed in all green garments, “And garments of green girt the fellow about—A two-third length tunic, tight at the waist” (Gawain, 151-152). The green in his appearance is the symbol for evil because he becomes the adversary of Sir Gawain, the one who challenges Gawain’s morality. The Green Knight’s weapons are also decorated in green, “The head of that axe was an ell-rod long. Of green hammered gold and steel was the socket, And the blade was burnished bright, with a broad edge” (Gawain, 211-212). The abundance of the color of green is important because it represents Gawain’s instability and uncertainty. The Green Knight uses the weapons to take three...
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