Friday November 19, 2010
A Comparison of Arthurian Legend in Various Stories
Arthurian legend was a genre many writers used in Chaucer’s day. It is a story made of romances, heroism, and ballads mostly about Arthur’s chief knight Sir Gawain who was mainly a man of social and ethical virtue. Often time’s Arthurian legend is a story of a knight who fights the bad guy, learns a lesson, saves the day and get’s the girl. Although sometimes the knight may start off as the bad guy as he did in one of Chaucer’s famous tales “The Wife of Bath.” Although Arthurian legend was used in many stories of that time, often the details were changed around to make the story unique but all in all kept the same idea throughout every type of literature. Two stories that include Arthurian legend are Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath” and “The Green Knight” by an unknown author. Together these two stories portray two very different types of knights, have many similarities in how women are portrayed, and they both include a supernatural aspect as-well.
In both pieces of literature, the idea of the supernatural plays a large role. In the tale of “The Green Knight” it tells a story of the green knight, who challenges one of Arthur’s knights (Sir Gawain) to use an axe and with one swing, kill him. Of course in return, the green knight gets his chance for a swing a year and a day afterwards. Sir Gawain accepts the deal, takes a single swing at the Green Knight and beheads him. To everyone’s dismay, the Green Knight (who at this point has no head) right away get’s up, grab’s his head, sits back on his horse, reminds Gawain of their deal, and leaves as if nothing fatal had just happened to him. Now of course in real life, the Green Knight would have been signing the contract of certain death with a deal of that sort because he would not have actually been able to recover from the loss of his head. But, in this story the rules of life are...