The Green Knight

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The Depiction of Woman in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Views of woman in the book Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are often talked about in this poem. Sex is expressed very openly by each character in the story, as Bertilak’s wife often tries to seduce Sir Gawain. The portrayal of woman and the power they wield through sex shows how they can ruin one person. She makes it seem that sex is easily related to hunting or even a game. We see how the poet has structured the bedroom scene as the conflicting demands of spiritual and courtly love.

Bertilak’s wife is a very strong and demanding character in the poem. She constantly tries to question ones morals and values through her actions. Gawain’s code of Christian morals and chivalry are constantly at conflict. Lady Bertilak is a temptress with associations of lust, disobedience and death to get Sir Gawain to sleep with her. She has no sort of code to follow except to brake his fundamental ethics he has.

As stated in Christianity sex is between a man and a woman for the purpose to have a child. The story mentions how the Virgin Mary is the holy mother of God throughout the play makes it hard to see how sex is portrayed very common here. Gawain is Mary's Knight, is made clear as he is robed for battle. She is represented as one of the five points of the pentangle, and her image is etched on the back of his shield. “That his prowess all depended on the five pure Joys that the holy Queen of Heaven had of her child. Accordingly the courteous Knight had that Queen's image etched on the inside of his armored shield, So that when he beheld her, his heart did not fail.” (645-65)

It is easy to read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a romantic celebration of chivalry, but Sir Gawain and the Green Knight contains a more wide-range of criticism of chivalry than has before. Gawain's view of reliance on chivalry's outside form and substance at the expense of the original values of the Christian religion from which it...
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