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 a 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 nephews.

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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