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What does the Green Knight set out to test?

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The Green Knight set out to test Sir Gawain’s virtue and the ability to rely on his faith. Instead of putting his trust in an inanimate object that may be expected to give him unlimited strength. Many readers tend to perceive the Green Knight as the antagonist of the story. The ending of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight shows that the latter was more of a mentor than a villain.

Detailed answer:

The story dwells on Sir Gawain’s journey. It explains why virtue is one of the most critical aspects of human lives. The Green Knight is described as a just creature. He understands the unfairness of approaching a mortal human as an equal. The Green Knight decides to give Gawain a chance to stay alive by addressing his potential flaws. The first test he set up was Bertilak’s wife trying to seduce him relying on her appearance.

As a fair character, the Green Knight only nicks Sir Gawain’s neck for passing two out of three tests. What’s in it for the readers? The story defies the idea that the Green Knight is the “bad guy” of the story. Instead, it showcases the virtues possessed by the Green Knight. For a medieval character, Sir Gawain is not an ideal person. He is relatively close to it. The readers get a chance to sympathize with the main character of the story and understand his motives. When he is not honest about something, it’s easy to sympathize with him.

Despite being strange, the Green Knight is the epitome of chivalry. His ultimate objectives are more important than the ways he explores to achieve the desired outcomes. The Green Knight keeps his word and leaves Sir Gawain alive. He helps him find the right solution to Gawain’s issues and protect the knight’s virtues from vanishing. It might send the readers back to mythology. The existing plot shows off a standard hero journey that ends with personal improvements achieved through struggle.

The Green Knight is the one character that offers Sir Gawain a way out. He shall be perceived as the savior and not the antagonist. The central person in the story shares his worries with the Green Knight. He gets the strength to approve of his wrongs and sins to become the best possible version of himself.

The Green Knight offered at least one unfair challenge to Sir Gawain does not portray the former as pure evil. Especially given that he knows that Gawain cannot lose due to the newly acquired supernatural powers. This kind of imagery turns him into a thought-provoking character. He is willing to become the reason for positive changes in other people’s lives. The Green Knight is not perfect and confuses the ones who pay visits with his tasks. He treats all people with honor and justice.

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1. IvyPanda. "What does the Green Knight set out to test?" January 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-does-the-green-knight-set-out-to-test/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "What does the Green Knight set out to test?" January 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-does-the-green-knight-set-out-to-test/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What does the Green Knight set out to test'. 25 January.

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