Middle English love is that of abiding the rules of chivalry and the subservience to God. Within Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, love is emanated within this form of a romantic poem. This fifteenth century poem was written with all the characteristics of love and its challenges that so often come with it. The story of the intrusive Green knight ends up having a twist that confronts the norms that knights have adopted. Sir Gawain, a model for knights in the Arthurian kingdom, ultimately redefines himself and his love for all codes of his kingdom manner.
Through this romantic journey the model knight will rediscover the truth through deception. The many forms of love including chivalry, spiritual and courtly love will become strengthened through the Green knight challenge. Chivalry is a common theme within Sir Gawain, “By champions of chivalry achieved in arms. ” (95) From the dinner scene in part one to the illustrious battle at the Green Chapel in Part 3. The love of keeping their virtues was imbedded in all aspects of the story.
Sir Gawain was the epitome for these virtues, through his valiant journey to the Green Chapel and strong will against the lady of the house. “With the pentangle portrayed in purest gold. ” (620) The five points of pentangle represent his perfection over evil. He loves being faultless in decisions that as long as he stays to the five points the Lord would keep him. With the five points on the front of his shield and Mother Mary on the back he had all the armor one needed. A great romance mustn’t be left without spiritual love, especially to a chivalric knight.
Gawain’s truth to his faith has him praying for help, “that Mary may be his guide. ” (738) His prayers were answered soon after from which a “wondrous dwelling [appeared]. ” (763) The great feasts also show the love of their God for the extravagant meals that are abundantly shown. “Great is God’s grace, and goodly indeed. ” (920) Which is expressed for the gratitude of Gawain’s presence. The importance and love of faith in Gawain’s quest does not come without its trials. The lovely lady of the house became another test of his chivalry and faith. With guile in her heart,” (1472) she makes several attempts to test Gawain’s strength. With her permission to “lay on as you like,” (1503) she also uses her cunning to pursue and manipulate his love. “For loyal faith in love, in life as in story,” (1513) she tempts him with courtly love to abide by the chivalrous approach. To have relations while her “husband is not nearby,” (1533) from which was made under thrice. “The two converse as friends of true love’s trials and bliss,” (1506) this spoken from the narrator hints to love being a state of suffering within the story.
Although they may love and suffer Gawain becomes better for it. Through his mistakes over love and faith it eventually leads him to a better understanding and a united brotherhood with the green girdle. The significance of the knight’s honor and brotherhood is mentioned throughout. “To counsel their comrade, with care in their hearts,” (558) after love for God the counsel and brotherhood is most important. Their “beneficence boundless and brotherly love,” (652) was shown before Gawain took forth.
Even after Gawain confessed to the kingdom that he had not met his journey with success he was still comforted by the king. “The king comforts the knight, and the court all together. ” (2513) Gawain wore the “badge of false faith that [he] was found in there. ” (2509) As a sign of deep support and love by his fellow brothers, he was met with all bearing the green sash. Clearly it is evident that love plays a crucial role in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. Although the love is enduring for Gawain it was not as it seemed.
The true love is what ended up being his true suffering. Gawain’s struggles through keeping his five points of perfection, his composure with the lovely lady and the brotherhood that supported him no matter what the outcome. These were the true challenges that love had brought about. His Lord and Mother Mary guidance to the castle had also been a test to his capabilities. Though he did his most human effort to stay true to his virtues the test of the Green knight was just that. To breakdown the perfection of the knight hood ideals and come out stronger for it.
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