The Protagonist in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Illustration of Sir Gawain and the Green Knigh...

Illustration of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, from the late-fourteenth-century Pearl Manuscript (Cotton Nero A.x) in the British Library (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain’s “good faith,” meaning his ability to be a good Christian, is put on trial and tested throughout the story (14). Gawain is a member of King Arthur’s Court and as a member of the House of Arthur. His adventure can be seen as one of a test of his Christianity in the supernatural or unchristian world. The House of Arthur is “the aristocratic castle dwelling community which was conventionally thought to uphold all good order and virtue against the disorder threatening from outside” (15). As a result, within the walls of that society people live virtuous Christian lives. However, outside the walls of the House of Arthur, people are tested and attacked by unchristian “malevolent supernatural forces” like the Green Knight (15). After giving the Green Knight his word in the beheading game, Gawain ventures out looking for the Green Chapel. This venturing out into the pagan world of the supernatural can be viewed as a test of his faith and his ability to maintain Christianity.

Anonymous.  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  Translated by Bernard O’DonoghueNew York: Penguin Books, 2007.

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