Chivalry In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

Chivalry In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay-62
Clear hierarchies and rules are meticoulously explained; the lord is in the lead, the boldest and most active, and detail is spent in each hunting scene describing the rules of carving and distributing the days spoils.While the hunt is going on Gawain is lying in bed, and this is mentioned in each hunting scene to emphasize the contrast.The poet uses the contrast between the Virgin Mary with Lady Bertilak’s wife to point out the conflict between courtly and spiritual love that he felt had weakened the religious values behind chivalry.

Clear hierarchies and rules are meticoulously explained; the lord is in the lead, the boldest and most active, and detail is spent in each hunting scene describing the rules of carving and distributing the days spoils.While the hunt is going on Gawain is lying in bed, and this is mentioned in each hunting scene to emphasize the contrast.The poet uses the contrast between the Virgin Mary with Lady Bertilak’s wife to point out the conflict between courtly and spiritual love that he felt had weakened the religious values behind chivalry.

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The Lady is not just suggesting certain moral associations to the reader; she is a real temptress testing his chastity and a real object of courtly love, testing his courtesy.The first knights were monastic ones, vowing chastity, poverty and service to God, and undertaking crusades for the good of their faith.The divergence between this early model and the fourteenth century knight came with the rise of courtly love in which the knights were led to their great deeds by devotion to a mistress rather than God.She answers his prayers and leads him to Bertilak’s castle; however, his arrival at Bertilak’s court throws him into a totally different world.Here, Gawain impresses courtiers of Bertilak’s castle with his prowess in the field of courtly love rather than the feats of daring or his upholding of his honor, traits that would draw compliments in Arthur’s court.This points out a serious conflict; in the game of courtly love, a man is forced outside of the traditional male hierarchies, placed on equal footing with a woman, and not subject to the feudal loyalty system.Above all, unlike the other contests established by men where the rules are clearly defined, the Lady’s game is ambiguous.Immediately upon his arrival in Bertilak’s court, the separation between courtly love religion is clear: Gawain at Mass is “in serious mood the whole service through”(940).This serious mood is immediately forgotten with the sight of the Lady, whom he immediately focuses on at the expense of Christmas’ meaning.Instead of finding solace in the meaning of Christmas, Gawain and the Lady “found such solace and satisfaction seated together, in the discrete confidences of their courtly dalliance” (1011-12).When Gawain was alone in the forest, fearing death, he could only think of one thing, that Mary should lead him to a place to say mass on Christmas.

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