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

I am the weakest, the one least lacking in wisdom, I know that, and my life would truly be missed less if I lost it. Just being my uncle makes me worthy of being valued; There's no reward but your blood on my body, I know that. And since this matter is too stupid to be yours, and I asked you first, bring it to me; And if I don't speak right, let this full judgment judge without guilt.

In his opening words to the story, Gawain shows how he earned his reputation as the epitome of chivalric virtue. Even when he offers to accept the Green Knight's challenge in King Arthur's place, Gwalchmai sheepishly declares that he is not worthy. Though he senses the humility he expresses, everyone at court understands that he is a great knight, partly because of his humility.

Gwalchmai picked up his ax and raised it, planting his left foot on the ground in front of him and cutting quickly through the exposed portion, the sharp blade piercing bone, shattering it and penetrating deep into smooth flesh. , he broke. in two, And the shining steel struck the ground.

Here the narrator describes the moment when Gawain performs the Green Knight's challenge and hits him once with an axe. Despite Gawain's previous claims of being the weakest knight, the fact that he chopped off the Green Knight's head in one blow proves his great strength and power. The task would be difficult for a normal human to complete, and the Green Knight is unnaturally large and strong.

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Gwalchmai beaming with joy said: "Whether fate is evil or just, why do I falter or fear? What should man do but trust himself?

After a year of anticipation, Gawain prepares to go in search of the Green Knight. He and everyone else at court believe he is heading towards certain death, having agreed to take an ax blow without fighting back. According to Gawain, he appears cheerful and fearless. However, readers might conclude that he is simply acting like this to help the sad court feel better. In fact, as he says goodbye, he believes he's going "forever."

Ever faithful in five things, fivefold each, Gwalchmai was regarded as good, and like refined gold he was free from all villainy and displayed every virtue in the field. So this new Pentangle bore him shield and shield, like a true man, true and honorable name of knight.

The narrator reveals Gawain's multiple virtues, which can be summed up as faithfulness or truth. Gawain lives true to his word and true to the laws of chivalry or knightly virtue, which include the Christian virtues. He also puts his knightly skills to good use. Thus, the pentagon, or five-pointed star designed by King Solomon to represent truth, appears as a new symbol on his shield before he embarks on a quest to find the Green Knight.

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Afraid that by the odds of fate he might not see the ministry of him who was born that night of a radiant virgin to banish our strife... Sighing, he said: “I beseech you, Lord, and you , Maria , sweetest and dear mother, that tomorrow morning in a refuge I may hear Mass and Matine with due honor: I humbly beg [.]'

On Christmas Eve, Gawain is still looking for the Green Knight in the desert, not quite sure where to look. As a good Christian, he wants to attend Christmas Mass and prays to God and Mary for this opportunity. Suddenly seeing a castle nearby, Gawain believes his prayer has been answered. Given his beliefs, he doesn't suspect the castle or the people inside.

In very decent style the servants brought him various fine soups... and all kinds of fish. . . . The kind lord generously regarded it as a banquet, and often said this when the servants thronged him over the meal: “Do this present penance; It will be compensated soon.

Here Gwalchmai demonstrates knightly virtue: while being fed a fasting dish of fish (meat is forbidden during Advent), Gwalchmai extols the meal as a feast. The castle servants appreciate your kind words. Of course, after weeks of wandering the desert, Gawain probably feels that various fine soups and fish of all kinds really make for a feast.

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[The] brave knight, ashamed, lay down with great dexterity and feigned sleep. . . . There she watched him for a long time, waiting for him to wake up. Cunningly close to that long time was the knight, considering in his soul this circumstance, its meaning and possible continuation, as it seemed wonderful. "Nevertheless, it would be wiser," he said to himself, "to talk and find out your wish in good time."

Gawain is in trouble: Lady Bertilak has entered his room. At first he tries to avoid the situation by pretending to be asleep, but eventually he realizes he must deal with the matter head-on. Gawain understands that it will take all of his intelligence and understanding of his chivalrous duty to overcome this situation without offending his host or hostess.

[The] incomparable princess pressed him so vehemently, marginalized him, that he felt compelled to accept her love or shamelessly reject her. He was concerned with his courtesy, not with the name of Caitiff, but above all with his plight should he sink into sin and treacherously dishonor the master of the house. God bless me! Of course that will not happen, said the Lord.

Lady Bertilak continues to foist her sexual favors on Gawain. Faced with the choice of insulting them or insulting their host, Gawain knows he must choose to honor his host. However, the idea of ​​being considered rude hurts him. Gwalchmai asks God to protect him, then uses his wits to find his way out of his predicament. Later, readers learn that he succeeds thanks to the help of Santa Maria, who takes special care of him.

(Video) Overview of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Thus the prince thought, and there appeared to him A Precious Jewel to protect him in the danger he showed him when he won the Green Chapel to obtain checkmate: it would be a great ruse to escape an assassination.

The narrator explains why Gawain accepts Lady Bertilak's belt, a gift she claims will protect him from death. Interestingly, she insists that he keep the gift a secret from her husband. Though Gawain was reluctant to accept a "token of love" from the lady, he changes his mind when he believes the gift will protect his life. The fact that she has to keep the belt a secret doesn't bother her: Its survival now trumps all other concerns.

[He] flinched in embarrassment at what the knight was saying. The first words the handsome knight could utter were, "Cursed be cowardice and greed! Your vice and your villainy are the curse of virtue. . . I have been a coward since we met, and cowardice taught me to indulge greed and corrupt my nature and the generosity and loyalty of chivalry.

Gawain expresses shame and disgust at himself after others criticize him for using Lady Bertilak's gift to protect his life and for keeping the gift a secret from her husband. He considers his cowardice and lack of truthfulness in the face of death unforgivable. However, all others, including the Green Knight and King Arthur, easily forgive his shortcomings as he only did what he did to survive.

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