Historical Context

The story of "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell" was written around the fourteenth century, around the same time as Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Gawain has traditionally been depicted as loyal, courteous, and a near perfect knight in almost every respect. These attributes do not deviate from the traits found in Gawain's character in "The Wedding." The only point of contrast that lies between the Gawain in "The Wedding" to the traditionally depicted one lies in his relationship to women. Whereas, Gawain has always been depicted as a knight who ignores women, in this story, his love for the hag turned lady, never fully dies. Even as "Gawen was weddid oft in his days; / But so welle he nevere lovid woman always, / As I have hard men sayn"(346). The story also contains common literary elements such as the fairy and magical elements. These supernatural themes also appear in the Wife of Bath's tale and in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The loathly lady that turns into someone else altogether is one such recurrent element.