Sample Essay

At times one is forced to believe that perhaps the life of Gawain is a bit superficial and his temptations might even bring about a bit of comic in the story. All through the poem he remains good keeping in mind the fact that, “he pleases the host, he eats, drinks, enjoys socializing, and even manages to be polite, courteous, and flirtatious with the woman who tries to seduce him multiple times, all while he tries to stay true to the pentangle. His experiences hint that he may be trying to take these ideals too far. Biblical stories would encourage him to flee the temptation, but he manages to stay true to all his ideals at the same time, including the ones that would suggest he flirt with her. When she tempts him, he winks, says “no” creatively, and gaily plays along with her game” (Matias, p.1).

Later on, even though Gawain accepts the girdle given to him by the lady in exchange of his pentangle, he stands true by not informing her husband of her deeds, even though he breaks his promise with Bertilak but perhaps he was looking out for himself in the future where he thought he would require the girdle to save his neck and gain honor. When he finds out that the girdle could not do anything for him he realizes his mistake which the sign of a true knight. He realizes that perhaps the existence of the girdle hurts more than helping him he realizes that saying the truth would have helped him far more. As the author says, “True men pay what they owe; No danger then in sight. You failed at the third throw, So take my tap, sir knight. For that is my belt about you” (Anonymous, p.70).  He realizes that he has somehow failed the virtues of the pentangle and he feels remorse and shame over his actions. According to sources, “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight contains a thought-provoking message. The pentangle’s ideals form the central conflict within the story, which is Gawain’s inner fight more so than his ordeal with the Green Knight. While he is indeed the greatest knight of all, while he so successfully matches up to the ideals he carries, he, like anyone, falls short. The narrator certainly uses his story to inspire knights to aim for the same ideals, but he doesn’t stop there. By including Gawain’s over-reaction to his failure, the narrator reminds us that when we do fail, we should deal with it by getting right with others, getting up, and learning from the experience” (Matias, p.1). Here it can be said that the poem presents to us a moral that one should not give up on himself if he/she makes mistakes, but one should learn from those mistakes and rectify the actions that he/she would take in the future.

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