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How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?

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The poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight has several different plot points and symbols. Some of them can be explained through Christianity. There is a conflict between pagan faith and Christianity in a confrontation between Gawain and Morgana. The Green Knight symbolizes Christ, and Gawain is made to experience hardships to test his faith.

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Scholars have discussed the depth of Christian elements in the poem. There are many outlooks on the religious aspect of the poem and what is not. It allows one to state that the Christian meanings of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight do not lie on the surface.

This poem’s very central plot has several references to paganism. Morgana is the representative of this faith. She is a sorceress with the power that challenges the entire Christian Camelot.

Morgana captivates the Green Knight and puts him under her control. Arthur’s sister is a vigorous villain, a witch who deceives and sets traps for Christian men. Her actions in this matter are an attack directed at the Christian faith. Paganism, sorcery, and femininity at that time were considered anti-Christian.

The Green Knight and Gawain are opposite to each other. The first character is a representation of a perfect believer. He is immortal and compared with Christ, who conquers death. He also challenges the main character and judges him in his path. Throughout the poem, Gawain faces numerous trials that test his dedication and faith in Christianity. He is a Christian who chooses an easier way to overcome his struggles.

However, these decisions often contradict Christian dogmas. That is why a hero goes through more tests. Because Gawain is the best knight of King Arthur, he bears religious ideas of the Round Table. The main character often gets help from God when he obediently follows the right path. When Gawain goes to look for the Green Chapel, he gets lost, and only after praying to the Virgin Mary, finds his way.

The main character is once again confronted with problems on his path when he encounters the Green Knight. However, he does not pray to Mary as he did before. Instead, Gawain relies on the power of the belt given to him by Bertilak’s wife. That is why he is also a man who sometimes succumbs to his weaknesses. When Gawain remembers the treacherous act of Lady Bertilak, he realizes that he is also a sinful man who betrayed his virtues and faith.

For a Christian, this act is embarrassing and makes the hero reconsider his dedication because he needs to make up for the betrayal. Even researchers agree that it is a test of his virtues and Christian doctrines. The contrast between the Green Knight and Gawain is also interpreted as one between the perfect Christian and a sinful Christian. The main character is far from perfection because of his flaws, but he tries to find the right way.

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IvyPanda. (2021, January 25). How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? https://ivypanda.com/q/how-to-explain-christianity-in-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight/

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IvyPanda. (2021, January 25). How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/q/how-to-explain-christianity-in-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight/

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"How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?" IvyPanda, 25 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/q/how-to-explain-christianity-in-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight/.

1. IvyPanda. "How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?" January 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-to-explain-christianity-in-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight/.


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IvyPanda. "How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?" January 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-to-explain-christianity-in-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?" January 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/how-to-explain-christianity-in-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'How to Explain Christianity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'. 25 January.

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