Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Green Knight Quotes | SparkNotes (2023)

Yes, all in green was the brave knight, and the hair on his head was the same color as his horse, and flowed delicately like a fan over his shoulders. . . . Like horse, like rider, in all the wild world, Was never before seen or observed by those assembled, not one. It felt like lightning and was quick to hit and stun. His terrible blows, the men thought, once struck meant death was accomplished.

The narrator describes the Green Knight, both his appearance and his effect on others, when he first arrives in Camelot. He looks all green, an odd fact leading the court to believe he is dead, or rather not dead, or alternatively from the desert. In addition to these purely physical features, he also looks fast and dangerous. This impression may be due to the way he rides his horse, as he has yet to say.

No, that's not the fight I want because only beardless boys sit on this bench. Had I ridden in armor on a great steed, none of you could match me, for your strength is small. That's why I long for a Christmas play in this courtyard, 'Cause it's Christmas and New Year's, and young people abound here.
(Video) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Video Summary

The Green Knight notes that he came without armor. After offering him unarmored combat, King Arthur replies that he does not seek combat. Instead, he wants to trade single strikes with a willing knight. While asking about an opponent, he mocks the court, saying that boys, not men, fill the court. Readers may wonder if the Green Knight speaks unkindly out of habit, or intentionally insults others to prod a knight into a fight.

Said the Gallant in Green to Gawain the Polite, "Indeed, if I take the blow after you've dealt it right, I'll tell you straight of my house, my hearth, and my own name." So you can keep your pact and call me, and if I don't tell you, then you will prosper, stay long in your own country, and not wait for more trials.

The Green Knight promises to tell Gawain how to find him after Gawain lands his only punch, making it clear that Gawain shouldn't feel obligated to try to find him if he doesn't provide that information. Gawain is probably hoping that if he lands a fatal blow, it's "game" over anyway. The Green Knight's plan to release the information after the coup strongly suggests that he has different expectations of Gawain.

(Video) The myth of Gawain and the Green Knight - Dan Kwartler

“As a Knight of Cape Verde, I am known to many; So if you ask for me, I will be found. So come on, otherwise you'll be duly called a coward! Then he dodged violently, cutting the reins, He ran to the hall door, head in hand, And stone fire flew from his hooves.

After Gawain decapitates the Green Knight, the knight's body rises to its feet and raises its severed head instead of lying dead on the ground. Terrible, the head makes this speech, then the body, carrying the head, rides wildly on the green horse. Readers can only imagine the fear this event instills in Camelot. Everyone recognizes events as magical. They also realize that Gawain needs to retrieve the ax after all.

Take my government as your guide and you will be better off because the place you are going is dangerous. In this desert lives the worst man in the world because he is brave and fierce and loves to fight and more powerful than any man that could live on earth. . . . In Capela Verde he lives his great adventures. No man is there, however proud he may be of his arms, without receiving a fatal blow from his terrible hand. Because he is a self-indulgent man, pity a stranger[.]
(Video) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight B A F T A Award winner 2002 Welsh animation

The guide, lent to Gawain by Sir Bertilak, warns Gawain of the Green Knight. Gawain already fears the imminent confrontation, and these words serve only to emphasize the danger. The Guide even offers to lie for Gawain's sake if Gawain decides to run away. He seems intent on preventing Gawain from fulfilling his promise to find the Green Knight. Some believe that the Führer and the Green Knight are one and the same.

Then the gallant in green quickly braced himself, raising his hideous weapon to lunge at Gwalchmai, all the raw strength of his body holding it up and swinging it hard enough to kill him. . . . Gwalchmai glanced at the grim ax at his side, slicing through the trembling air to crush it, and his shoulders jerked slightly on the sharp edge. The other suddenly stopped the descending axe, And then rebuked the prince with many proud words[.]

The narrator describes the moment the Green Knight throws his ax at Gawain. After Gawain retreats a bit, the Green Knight deflects his attack and calls Gawain a coward. Gawain seems to agree and promises not to waver next time. But, as Gawain notes, "when my head bows to the plane it is erased forever", unlike the Green Knight. In fact, the Green Knight used the tremors as an excuse to stop.

(Video) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight pt.2

He looked at Sir Gawain, lying on the ground before him, and reflected how strong and powerful he was, bold in arms; her heart warmed to him. Then he spoke happily in his great voice with a resounding speech to the knight: "Bold man, do not be so bloodthirsty. Here no one offered him gross evil, contrary to the pact made at the king's court. I promised you a scam you got: consider yourself paid.

As Gawain prepares to fight for his life after suffering a small punch from the Green Knight, the Green Knight reminds him that he only promised a punch, which he just landed. The Green Knight considers breaking the promise he originally made in Camelot in what he calls a mean and unfriendly "covenant". Despite this, the Green Knight is impressed by Gawain's bravery and fulfills the terms of the contract while sparing Gawain's life.

First, I foolishly pretended to attack without slashing you to pieces, and I was right because we made a pact the first night; Because you really kept your trust in me by giving me your credit as a good man should. The other false blow was left for the next day when you kissed my beautiful wife and the kisses reached me.
(Video) 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' in Middle English (lines 1–19)

When the Green Knight explains why he gave Gawain two wrong punches, Gawain realizes that the Green Knight also found him in the nearby castle. If Gawain sees this truth, so will the reader, for few traits connect the two men. Gawain now knows that the gift-giving game he and Sir Bertilak were playing wasn't about chasing and kissing. Instead, like the original slugfest, the game was about making good on a promise.

Then the other gentleman laughed and said politely, 'I think you've made amends; You have fully admitted your guilt with just acknowledgment and evidently atoned on the point of my axe. You have been absolved of your sin and are now as spotless as if you had never made a mistake since you were born.

After the Green Knight/Sir Bertilak admonishes Gawain to keep secret the Belt of Protection, a gift from Lady Bertilak, Gawain admits his sin and expresses shame and remorse. However, the Green Knight understands that he took the belt to protect his life, not as a token of love. Here he explains that he considers the deception to be understandable and, after the confession, to be forgivable. In the end, the Green Knight forgives Gawain more easily than Gawain forgives himself.

(Video) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


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