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What chivalric value does Gawain display?

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In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain manifests exceptional purity of character. He even resists Lady Bertilak’s temptations. In addition, he shows steadfast allegiance to King Arthur. By accepting the challenge from the Green Knight, he keeps his word to come on time and put his head under the ax.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a chivalric romance dedicated to a famous adventure of Gawain, King Arthur’s nephew. The poem reflects the spirit of chivalry and loyalty to his word.

The author skillfully portrays Sir Gawain’s courage and braveness. The main character of the play easily accepts a harsh challenge from the Green Knight. Sir Gawain asks someone present to hit him with an ax, provided that in a year and one day, the Green Knight will retaliate. Volunteered Gawain chops off the insolent his head, but he, as if nothing had happened, raised it, mounts his horse, and reminds Gawain of the appointed time.

While seeking the Green Chapel, Gawain finds himself in the castle of Lord Bertilak and his gorgeous wife. In the castle, Bertilak and Gawain make a deal. The former will give Gawain everything that he gets during the hunt. Gawain, in his turn, will give him everything that he gets this day. For the next three days, in the absence of her husband, Lady Bertilak tries to seduce Gawain. However, she achieves only a few modest kisses. Besides, on the third day, Lady Bertilak gives Gawain a green silk belt that protects from any physical harm.

On New Year’s Day, Gawain reaches the Green Chapel. There, the Green Knight puts his courage to the test that Gawain bravely endures. Then, the miracle hero reveals his real name. He announces that the actual test for the young knight was not to withstand the blow but to preserve the purity. Fortunately, he resisted it with honor. Gawain returns to Camelot, wearing a green girdle as a shame for a broken promise. Yet, the other Knights eliminate the blame from him in recognition of Gawain’s honesty.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What chivalric value does Gawain display'. 25 January.

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