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Sir Gawain And The Green Knight: The Importance Of Chivalry

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During medieval times knights follow a code of courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak, this way of life is referred to as chivalry. In Literature, This way of life was shown in texts like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Le Morte d’Arthur where characters used chivalry to accomplish tasks and save lives. In literature, characters created and ended conflicts using chivalry.

Chivalric values in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight create conflict between characters but also solve them. The conflict starts when the Green Knight arrives at Arthur’s party; he does not fight them but instead mocks their age “Nay to fight… but beardless children.“(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 57). The Green Knight calls the Knights ‘beardless children’ meaning that they are young and because of his chivalric values decides not to fight them. This creates a conflict between them because the Knights may be young but they are very experienced and battle-tested. This tension continues with the Green Knight mocking the Knights For not taking his challenge “Overwhelmed with a word of one man’s speech, For all cower and quake, and no cut felt!”(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 90-91). The Green Knight mocks the Knights because they do not take a challenge. The Knights not taking the challenge goes against chivalric values. The lack of Values angers the Green Knight. The conflict comes to an end when Arthur speaks up and takes the challenge himself. “Sir, now we see you say but folly… No guest he is aghast of your great words. (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 98-100). Arthur taking the challenge makes the Green Knight calm down so the conflict is resolved.

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain represents chivalrous behavior in his actions. His first chivalrous action was when he stepped up and take the challenge to save King Arthur”I beseech before all here, That this melee be mine…

During medieval times knights follow a code of courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak, this way of life is referred to as chivalry. In Literature, This way of life was shown in texts like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Le Morte d’Arthur where characters used chivalry to accomplish tasks and save lives. In literature, characters created and ended conflicts using chivalry.

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Chivalric values in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight create conflict between characters but also solve them. The conflict starts when the Green Knight arrives at Arthur’s party; he does not fight them but instead mocks their age “Nay to fight… but beardless children.“(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 57). The Green Knight calls the Knights ‘beardless children’ meaning that they are young and because of his chivalric values decides not to fight them. This creates a conflict between them because the Knights may be young but they are very experienced and battle-tested. This tension continues with the Green Knight mocking the Knights For not taking his challenge “Overwhelmed with a word of one man’s speech, For all cower and quake, and no cut felt!”(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 90-91). The Green Knight mocks the Knights because they do not take a challenge. The Knights not taking the challenge goes against chivalric values. The lack of Values angers the Green Knight. The conflict comes to an end when Arthur speaks up and takes the challenge himself. “Sir, now we see you say but folly… No guest he is aghast of your great words. (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 98-100). Arthur taking the challenge makes the Green Knight calm down so the conflict is resolved.

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain represents chivalrous behavior in his actions. His first chivalrous action was when he stepped up and take the challenge to save King Arthur”I beseech before all here, That this melee be mine… the loss of my life would be least of any. (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 115-129). Sir Gawain taking the place of Arthur shows that Gawain cares about the people. He takes his place because he knows that his death would be less impactful than King Arthur’s. His chivalrous behavior continues when he follows the challenge and meets the Green Knight at the Green Chapel“ Friend mine It seems your word holds good”(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 333-334). Sir Gawain follows the challenge and his word by meeting the Green Knight when he agreed to. This is an example of chivalrous behavior because he follows his word and does not waiver. Although Sir Gawain was Chivalrous, he is not the only character that follows the same code. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Green Knight’s Chivalrous behavior teaches the reader a valuable lesson. His chivalry begins when he decides not to fight the young Knights when he first meets them’ “Nay to fight… but beardless children.“(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 57). His judgment possibly saves the lives of Arthur’s Knights and himself. This teaches the reader to follow your will and not do things that you feel are wrong. His chivalrous behavior continues when he spares the life of Sir Gawain and leaves him with a small nick “True men pay what they owe; No danger than in sight. You failed at the third throw, So take my tap, sir knight.”(Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 444-447). The Green Knight purposely misses Sir Gawain because he passed his test. The Green Knight’s actions teach us that if you follow your word you will earn the respect of people, and they possibly will then help you when you need it most.

Chivalry in Le Morte d’Arthur Causes conflict but also solves them. The conflict starts when Sir Gawain confronts Arthur in a dream and tells him not to confront Mordred, but Arthur thinking he was better decided to fight him anyway. Arthur’s stubbornness ends up killing him and his friends. “…for if you do, not only will yourself be killed but all of your noble followers too”(Malory 209). Gawain is being chivalrous because he decides to tell Arthur to not fight Mordred, but he decides to fight him anyway and it ends up costing his life. The conflict was ended when Sir Bedivere threw Arthur’s sword into the water as he wished “ Sir Bedivere wrapped the girdle around the sheath and hurled it as far as he could”(Malory 212). Sir Bedivere ends the conflict by doing what Arthur wished, which makes him happy just before he dies. Arthur represents the ideals of chivalry in Le Morte d’Arthur. When Arthur shows the ideals of chivalry when he comforts Sir Bedivere after his brother Lucas dies “Sir Bedivere, weep no more… for you can save neither your brother nor me”(Malory 212). Arthur comforts Sir Bedivere because he sees that he is upset about his brother’s death, this shows that Arthur is caring and that is a characteristic of chivalry. This action of putting himself last and putting other people in front of him shows that he is a good king and follows the code of chivalry. Although Arthur is chivalrous he is not the only character that these characteristics. In Le Morte d’Arthur Sir Bedivere shows chivalrous behavior because he is loyal to the king until his death “My lord as you command it shall be done”(Malory 212). Sir Bedivere’s willingness to do what Arthur asks hin is a sign of chivalry because he does what he asks.

The code of chivalry is followed by many people including knights. In books Like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Le Morte d’Arthur characters like Sir Gawain, the Green Knight, Arthur, and Sir Bedivere followed that code, and it created and ended conflicts. If you act with kindness you will get kindness.

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Sir Gawain And The Green Knight: The Importance Of Chivalry. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-the-importance-of-chivalry/
“Sir Gawain And The Green Knight: The Importance Of Chivalry.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-the-importance-of-chivalry/
Sir Gawain And The Green Knight: The Importance Of Chivalry. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-the-importance-of-chivalry/> [Accessed 3 Oct. 2022].
Sir Gawain And The Green Knight: The Importance Of Chivalry [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2022 Oct 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-the-importance-of-chivalry/
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