Sample Essay

Sir Gawain, before meeting the Green Knight in a battle, prays for some “harborage” in the deep woods.  It is at this point that he encounters Bercilak, the Green Knight.  Sir Gawain does not realize that this is the enemy he was sent to defeat.  Instead of fighting, then, the two individuals feast together and enter into a civilized bond, wherein both of them would exchange their earnings for the day.

By means of this, Bercilak is allowed to enter the natural civilization as a supernatural being.  He succeeds in both the natural and the supernatural world, while Sir Gawain is able to return to Arthur’s court with the Green Knight’s green garter as a symbol.  This symbol is a sign of reconciliation between the natural and the supernatural world.  It is also a symbol of chivalry, such as the kind shown by Froissart’s English knights.  Sir Gawain has, indeed, expressed chivalry toward his foe.  A relationship can now be formed between the two unlike worlds.  Kiekhefer writes on the bridge that has been crossed: “A magic bridge may be crossable only by those who possess all knightly and godly graces…  A gate may close on a knight who is proud, until he humbles himself in prayer. A magic castle may be invisible to cowards” (107).

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