Journeys to Knowledge
“Every beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” (Closing time by Semisonic). In The Confessions by St. Augustine and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by W.S. Merwin, St. Augustine and Sir Gawain embark on journeys to find the best way to live their lives and then begin a new journey of spreading the lessons they learned and the people they have become to the people around them. Although sir Gawain knows he is on a journey to the Green Chapel, he does not realize that it will lead to him testing his virtues as well as making him a better knight. Similarly, St. Augustine does not realize that all along he was meant to become exactly what his mother urged and hoped he would become. If he had listened to his mother and followed God in the first place, he may not have been as strong of a leader and certainly would not have been as influential of a person as he is known for. The lessons they learn are ones that ultimately change their outlooks and persuade them to better their lives. Firstly, St. Augustine and Sir Gawain were proud of the men they were while they were embarking on their journeys; however the type of people they were differ from one another. Sir Gawain was known to be a “good knight and gold purified, clear of every crudeness, graced and protected by virtues” (Merwin 633), proving he was already a good knight. He carried a shield on his path to the Green Chapel that represented all of his virtues through the five point of the pentangle on his shield: five faith wounds, five joys of the Queen of heaven, five unfailing fingers, five faultless senses, and five qualities he possessed. His values on his shield are put to the test when he takes part in his adventure through woods, the freezing cold, and the temptation of the lord’s wife. For example, his courtesy is tested when the wife of the lord tries to get him to kiss her and he does not know how to respond because it is courteous to do as she says but he does...
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