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Sir Gawain And The Green Knigh - Papers Online

Sir Gawain And The Green Knigh


Women, Courtly Love and the Creation Myth in t
t, a great epic written in fourteenth century Europe by the Pearl poet, emphasizes the opposition of Christian love to Courtly love in the 13th century through the dilemma of Sir Gawain, one of the great knights of the Arthurian round table. By examining the women in the poem, Gawain’s dilemma becomes a metaphor for the contrast of these two distinct types of love. The poem looks upon the Virgin Mary as the representative of spiritual love, obedience, chastity, and life (Warner 9). In contrast, Morgan le Fay and Bertilak’s wife appear to be representing courtly love, disobedience, lust and death. This conflict between courtly ...

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to be at the service of his church. However, with the rise of courtly love, knights began to give their devotion to their mistress rather than God. This elevated the church’s mistrust of women and the flesh. The characterization of Bertilak’s wife is not unlike that of Eve, a temptress who would bring both happiness and despair to her man. One interesting twist to this story is that, like courtly love, possession of power seems to be shifted into the hands of the women. The wife of Bertilak operates unassisted against Gawain in the bedroom as the hunter and the aggressor. The great feminine power in the story, however, comes from Morgan le Fay, the evil stepsister of Arthur. She is strong enough to move into Bertilak’s castle, turn him green and order him to walk and talk with a severed head.
The Virgin Mary also plays a prominent role in the tale. It seems as if Mary and Gawain have a relationship based on a special untainted Christian love. That Gawain ...

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222). Strolling down the aisle beside Lady Bertilak is an older woman who serves as a standard for comparison, accentuating her beauty. “But unlike to look upon, those ladies were, for if the one was fresh, the other was faded” (Adams, 222). This comparison is a reminder of the moral statement associating women with sex, sin and death. Decay of the flesh is sometimes a perceived as spiritual decay, as with Eve who was cursed to have children and grow old as punishment for her sins.
The moral decline of Gawain can be clearly seen following his association with the Lady. On Christmas morning, for example, instead of finding comfort in the spiritual meaning of Christmas, ...

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Sir Gawain And The Green Knigh. (2007, November 6). Retrieved January 27, 2022, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Sir-Gawain-And-The-Green-Knigh/73920
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"Sir Gawain And The Green Knigh." Essayworld.com. November 6, 2007. Accessed January 27, 2022. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Sir-Gawain-And-The-Green-Knigh/73920.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 11/6/2007 03:32:17 PM
Category: English
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1589
Pages: 6

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