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Sir Gawain: Zero or Hero


            
             In the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the character of Sir Gawain is depicted as the noblest knight in all of King Arthur's court. However, even though he is depicted as such, he still has his downfalls and shortcomings as a human being. I believe that by trying to fight his human nature through a guise of chivalry, Gawain shows us even more what a folly it is to fight our nature. This is best shown in his actions at Lord Bertilak's castle. By not fulfilling the whole promise to the Lord, Gawain shows that even the greatest of people can still have their weaknesses.
             The way in which Gawain is built up is a sign of how he will eventually fail in the end. The unknown poet does this in a great way through the whole story. The poet makes sure to emphasize how great and noble Gawain is on several occasions thereby building up his esteem. The first incident in which Gawain shows us his nobility is when he accepts the challenge of the Green Knight. He accepts this challenge to prove his loyalty to his king, and to also "release" the king from his obligation to accept this challenge. Gawain even proves that he is greater than all the other knights by accepting this game before anybody else could. .
             Upon arriving at the castle of Lord Bertilak, the reader is surprised to see how quickly the whole image of the noble Gawain unravels. The reader then begins to see how uncharacteristic a knight that Gawain is. The first incident of many incidents occurs with Lady Bertilak and the temptation of Gawain. Lady Bertilak, under the guidance of Morgan le Fay, attempts to test Gawain by seducing him and trying to make him commit adultery. This is not chivalrous and it also would break the Christian commandment of coveting your neighbor's wife. However, Gawain declines the offer that is given and still upholds his virtue as any true chivalrous knight would. He even declines Lady Bertilak with kindness and courteousness, but nevertheless Gawain is still a little nervous about what is going on with the lady.


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