Essay, Research Paper
What Could We Learn From Sir Gawain?
I think we could learn a lot many things from Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain is someone that I think everyone can relate to in some way. He was placed under many tests and performed admirable in all but one of them. It is that last test that made him seem human to me. I think in order to learn from someone you have to try to walk a mile in his or her shoes. I will describe, in detail, the parts of the story in which Sir Gawain excelled and why we should try to learn from him.
The first thing I thing we could learn from Sir Gawain is to always be ready to step up to a challenge. In Part 1 of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain challenges the Green Knight. Gawain is the only Knight to accept the challenge for the King and does so without reservation. He easily beheaded the magical man as stated in the following lines: Gawain grips to his ax and gathers it aloft–/ The left foot on the floor before him he set–/ Brought it down deftly upon the bare neck,/ That the shock of the sharp blow shivered the bones/ And cut the flesh cleanly and clove it in twain,/ That the blade of bright steel bit into the ground./ The head was hewn off and fell to the floor;/ Many found it at their feet as forth it rolled;/ (Unknown, Part I, 421-427). He didn t know the Green Knight was magical and probably thought it would be an easy task. After all, he was a Knight in the great King Authur s court. For this I think Gawain shows strength, bravery, and loyalty.
The next thing we could learn from Sir Gawain is demonstrated on his trip to the Green Chapel: Many a cliff must he climb in the country wild; /Far off from all his friends, forlorn he must ride; / At each strand or stream where the stalwart passed/ Twere a marvel if he met not some monstrous foe, /And that so fierce and forbidding that fight he must./ (Unknown, Part II, 713-717). Gawain left his home during horrible chill of winter on a journey to meet a man who had survived being beheaded. His must have felt lonely, scared, and lost away from all that he is so very familiar with. He could have very easily broken his part of the agreement, but he pressed on bravely. He was after all doing this for the King. If he didn t follow through on his end of the deal, the King and the Round Table would look like a bunch of cowards. I believe Sir Gawain shows the qualities of perseverance for not giving up in spite of the horrible weather and dedication for enduring all the danger and austere conditions for the honor he would bring King Authur and the Knights of the Round Table.
In Part III of the story, Gawain shows his true colors. He has until now remained true in all challenges he has faced. He accepted a challenge from the Kin of the magical castle in exchange for directions to the Green Chapel. He plays the game well during the first two days, but falls prey to his being human and perhaps even wise on the third day. He does break his word when it came to the issue of the belt, but I believe this is what makes Gawain more of a normal person. I don t think anyone would have handed that girdle over knowing he was to face the Green Knight the next day. Thus Gawain accepts the belt. The lord returns home and gives Gawain a fox. Gawain gave him the three kisses which he received from the lady, but not the belt. This is the flaw in his personality which makes him a believable character. Any normal person, no matter how honest, would do what he has done for fear of his life. This fact makes Gawain look very real and makes him human.