Sir Gawain Essay

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11-1-11
Chivalric But Still Human
“The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.” (Honore de Balzac). The Chivalric code is a clutter of rules that contradict each other and challenge normal human behavior. These rules of chivalry are predominantly concerned with courage, honor and gentlemen- like- behavior, which play an important role in proving one’s faithfulness to the King. In the poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain proves to be a hero because he continually struggles against his human flaws to act in a heroic manner. Sir Gawain is acknowledged as a chivalric human because he is a courageous man who perseveres through difficult events and faces both human temptation and terror. Throughout Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain constantly battles to uphold the chivalric code, and in the end one can determine that Gawain did in fact uphold the chivalric code. To begin, Gawain upholds the law to be a courageous man in all circumstances. Near the end of the poem Gawain reaches the Green Knight’s castle to uphold his promise that they made a year and a day before. When Gawain arrives, he and the knight begin conversation and form an agreement to follow through with the terms. As the Green Knight describes what he shall do, Gawain says, “Never fear… I’ll stand still and allow you to work as you like and not oppose/ you here” (91-95). At this point within the poem, Gawain has done everything to follow the code of chivalry. True bravery and courage is not found in many men, but Gawain is able to conquer this obstacle and prove that he is brave. In this instance, Gawain is allowing the knight to do as he pleases, which is to cut off his head. This demonstrates that he is a fearless man awaiting his death. Additionally, he does not choose to resist the punishment and run for his life, he takes in the punishment because he has the strength to accept his fate. Many men in this situation could not...
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