Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
In the fourteenth century, there was a contemporary of Chaucer; he was an unknown poet.
The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written by this unknown poet.
The story deals with the many complicated issues, one of them,
involving a test of character for Gawain. He is King Arthur's most noble knight,
and one of the most honest, chivalrous, and gallant knights
in Camelot. However, he has to face one of the
most difficult challenges of life, which is accepting his flaws.
Realization of one's imperfection is one of the hardest challenges of life for anyone.
The passage that I am going to analyze describes how the king and
his guests gather and blissfully celebrate the arrival of the New Year.
The passage from lines 60 to 129 begins
with the celebration of the New Year. The author discusses
the Christmas tradition of the Arthurian legend, describing how
the king celebrates his New Year's day.
The guests gather in the court at this celebration and receive their
food before the majesty arrives.
As soon as the king arrives "all chanting in chapel ended,
"(Norton 204), which means that all the
guests stop talking and then shout out songs
of happiness for the New Year. The guests
then gather happily and exchange gifts, talking long
and busily about the presents. The ritual
involved with the exchange of presents
is also kissing. All the women are
laughing happily, but ironically,
the author makes fun of them when he
describes them laughing as if they are losers.
His description is, "Ladies laughed aloud,
though losers they were(Norton 203).
The enjoyment goes on until dinner is served.
Then the unknown poet describes the king's queen, Guenevere. He
mentions how everyone takes
seats along the Round Table. The poet describes the queen
as sitting at the head
of the table," well-decked and duly arrayed
With costly silk curtains...all broidered
and bordered wit the best gems"(Norton 204).
Since she is a very important figure, much money is spent on her. Guinevere is seated on the dais, a platform,
that is lavishly decorated.
The poet is describing her at first as
a person without any flaws, one who is perfect,
"Fair Queen, without a flaw, She glanced with eyes of grey.
A seemlier that once he saw,
The reader might think that she is a honorable and wonderful person.
However, that thought is too good to be
true because later he continues to say
that if any person finds the truth about
her he will not believe so. He is saying no one "seems better"
or "seems more beautiful" as the queen.
In the next part, the
author goes on and
describes King Arthur. The court, where this occasion is celebrated
is one of the most comfortable settings in Camelot.King Arthur is one of the nicest
and friendliest kings. The court,
where this occasion is celebrated is
one of the most comfortable courts. The poet's description
of King Arthut seems to be as of a playful little
boy who likes his life to be taken
with fun and entertainment. He is an
impatient "boyish" person, who like a
child wants to hear a tale or "some fair feat"
before eating on a big holiday. Arthur's best
knight sits beside Guenevere along with Agravain,
both nephews of the king. The seating arrangements
besides the queen show the importance of
The remainder of
the passage talks about how the traditional festivity of New Year's is spent.
The first course of the night comes with the
"clamor of trumpets," having bright banners on them.
There are twelve plates of the
best silverware used for meals in
front of all of the guests. Wine and beer are plentiful,
and every guest can freely eat as much as
he desires. It is one of the
many joyous occasions in Camelot.
All this bliss does come to an end,
just as all good things do.
Gawain's nobility and honesty
are put on the line when he
opposes his biggest enemy, which in time he
realizes, is himself.
This page is created by Shalini Sharma
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