The medieval romance has the following distinctive features:
- The main character demonstrates chivalrous behavior throughout the entire romance.
- The protagonist is brave and noble.
- The plot of the romance is simple, but the setting involves mystery and magic.
The poem describes a quest of Sir Gawain as he bravely steps up for a challenge in King Arthur’s place. This show of loyalty is a prominent theme among medieval romance. The knight accomplishes his task and does not hesitate to report about his experience to King Arthur. The portrayal of Sir Gawain as an ideal knight is one of the main cornerstones of the stories of that time. On his journey, the main character faces obstacles and moral dilemmas. Yet, he successfully overcomes all the difficulties and learns a valuable lesson. As a result, the main character grows as a person:
“A true man must truly restore;
Then one need fear no hurt.
At the third thou failed, no more;
That tap is thy just desert.”
The topic of courtly love in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is also characterized by chivalric honor. The main character strictly refuses any advances from Lady Bertilak, adhering to the knight’s code. The structure of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is simple and revolves around a single event. The plot involves elements of a fairy tale, as Lord Bertilak is transformed by Morgana into the Green Knight, who can survive a beheading. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight draws its roots from Arthurian legends. These pieces of writing were the primary focus for romantic tales at that time and stay popular nowadays.