Throughout literature women have been depicted in many different ways. This may have been influenced by certain stereotypes or an author’s personal experience. In Arthurian legends such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the female character queen Guinevere is not portrayed as an individual but as a social construct of what a woman should be. Queen Guinevere however plays a passive woman.
At the time of the middle ages, women were considered to be of lesser quality and inferior to men. The church told women to be obedient to their fathers and their husbands but their lives were different from that. Most worked for a living especially peasant women who shadowed alongside their husbands and had to provide clothing and food for the family. However, women of the next higher social order, that is wealthy women, had a say in their husbands’ affairs and took care of huge households but they too still had very little say when it came to national events.
Women in medieval times seemed to strike a presence of power. Sir Gawain's tale presents Bertilak’s wife as a sultry and seductive woman, thus unveiling women as a source of temptation and weakness to knightly morals. Her physical attributes cause her to be a source of temptation for Gawain to stray from his code of chivalry. Her beauty, which is revealed in terms of her sexuality, makes her character’s portrayal from a beautiful object to a temptress, from passive to aggressive and also displaying tact and persistence in her chase of the knight, stealing kisses too. Though she fails to fulfill her sexual desires with Sir Gawain, she does manage however to cause the noble knight to break his loyalty to his host. This is so because the knight accepts her offer of the girdle. Here we see Bertilak's wife taking the role of the unfaithful temptress and corrupter by using her sexually physical appearance and also through her clever manipulation of Gawain.
This tale also includes the...