Sample Essay

As mentioned above, the five points of the pentangle in Gawain’s shield stand for five virtues of chivalry, which are exemplified by the character of Sir Gawain. According to sources, “the poem describes Gawain’s armor in detail. He carries a red shield that has a pentangle painted on its front. The pentangle is a token of truth. Each of the five points are linked and locked with the next, forming what is called the endless knot. The pentangle is a symbol that Gawain is faultless in his five senses, never found to fail in his five fingers, faithful to the five wounds that Christ received on the cross, strengthened by the five joys that the Virgin Mary had in Jesus (The Annunciation, Nativity, Resurrection, Ascension, and Assumption), and possesses brotherly love, pure mind and manners, and compassion most precious. The inside of the shield is adorned with an image of the Virgin Mary to make sure that Gawain never loses heart” (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, p.1). Here we can ascertain that the pentangle represented five virtues which are free-giving, friendliness, chastity, chivalry, and piety. Other virtues related to knights are that of honesty, loyalty, devotion etc.

The author has given much significance to the pentangle and has spent nearly forty-six lines from line number six hundred and nineteen to line number six hundred and sixty-five. Also, in order to signify the importance of the pentangle, the author writes, “And why the pentangle is proper to that peerless prince / I intend now to tell, though detain me it must” (Anonymous, p.30). This message actually alerts the reader that what is about to come is extremely important so as to understand the meaning of the narrator.

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