Romance in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Essay by innis04College, UndergraduateA, January 2005

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A romance as defined by most people is or could be boy meets girl they fall in love, and live happily ever after; but when you look at the definition of a romance in literature its is a narrative set in a world the ordinary laws of nature are suspended. And idealized heroes fight the forces of evil. The narrative Sir Gawain and the Green Knight contains all the elements of a romantic novel.

The common romance element of good verse evil is present in the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as appears in the two main characters of the story. To begin, there is Sir Gawain, one of the noblest knights to serve King Arthur. He was not only courageous enough to accept the challenge of the Green Knight, but he was also loyal to his chance at the challenge. When it was his turn to face the blow of the axe, he did not avoid meeting the green knight, but he went to face his opponent.

Although when Gawain stays with the generous lord of the castle he met on his journey, he was only able to resist his seductive wife's advances to some degree. Then there is the Green Knight himself. He appears to be an evil, mysterious being, who only wishes to cause problems. After proposing the challenge, he allows Gawain to slash his head off, but he simply picks it up and walks out. No human could be capable of this. He was also deceiving, as he appears to be the welcoming lord of the castle that Gawain stays at while traveling to the Green Chapel. The Green Knight arranges for his apparently chivalrous exterior. Even though the Green Knight appears to be completely evil, when it is his turn...