Significance of Journey: Sir Gawain and The Green Knight
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Significance of Journey: Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

Analyzing The Norton Anthology of World Literature's version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

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Significance of Journey: Sir Gawain and The Green Knight
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I don't always find this genre of literature as intriguing as I found Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to be. I enjoyed the smallest details such as color psychology and symbolism author Sarah Lawall uses. I also enjoyed the journey Sir Gawain endured. Because of how utterly fond of this piece I was, I decided to write an analysis based on my perception.

The analysis of a life journey reveals how a journey contains more than just mobility from one physical place to another. A compelling itinerary ensues prolific growth and encourages the individuals to expand beyond limits. Maneuvering through changes while on a quest grants copious opportunity for one to acquire self-knowledge and awareness of the person’s surrounding general public. This conceptualization of journeying remains relevant for excursionist Gawain in "Sir Gawain and The Green Knight." Sir Gawain endures the turbulence of the Journey in order to discover and prove, to himself and others, his full potential; he faces temptation and paranoia as he begins to realize the significance of humility, integrity, and faithfulness.

The turmoil nature of the journey confines the voyage by inflicting anxiety and paranoia. Life must become out of sync in order for the individual to grow and exit their comfort zone. Certain actions and the way the central character approaches situations help illustrate the character’s identity. Gawain’s struggles are magnified when the reader witnesses his sleepless nights introduced by the paranoia when the author reveals “Yes he dozes in a daze, dreams, and mutters like a mournful man with his mind on dark matters....” The author also exhibits the hardships of fighting the queen’s temptation. “For that noble princess pushed him and pressed him, nudged him ever nearer to a limit where he needed to allow her love or impolitely reject it.” The reader possesses the ability to infringe upon Gawain’s willpower as he built up the mental strength to refuse the queen’s attempt to lure him into seduction. In addition, Gawain blames women for men’s downfall. “no wonder if a fool finds his way into folly and be wiped of his wits by womanly guile—it’s the way of the world," revealed by author Sarah Lawall.

Gawain must embark the journey to reinvent himself through gaining self-assurance. At the beginning of the poem, Sir Gawain accepts the challenge of green knight subsequent to no other offers. Gawain tells King Arthur “Should you call me, courteous lord, to rise from my seat and stand at your side.” The courage Gawain embodies during this particular moment births the chance for him to prove his worthiness as a warrior. The reason provided for his decision unfolds in line 354 on page 734 when Gawain states “I am the weakest of your warriors and feeblest of wit; loss of my life would be least lamented.” Here Gawain’s thoughts pertaining to himself are displayed to the reader. He believes his significance only exists due to his family ties with the king. “Were I not your nephew my life would mean nothing; to be born of your blood is my body’s only claim.”

While traveling along the physical journey Sir Gawain encounters numerous life changing mental trials. He begins to change at the start of the game of gifts at the castle as soon as he accepts. The master says “here’s a wager: what I win in the woods, will be yours, and what you gain will be given to me—young sir, let’s swap, and strike a bond” then Gawain responds with “I agree to the terms.” Gawain appears as an honest man who truthfully, up until the third day, justly submits his winnings to the king. Gawain declines whatever the queen offers due to the fact that he cannot offer her anything in return.

Moreover, on the road on what appears to be a road to redemption, Sir Gawain changes for the better. During the last segment of the play, the reader sees that Gawain is not as honest as he appears. However, Gawain failing to report the whole truth about the girdle conveys him as a more relatable character. His intentions were not to suborn lies. Any mortal in fear of their own life would have kept the gain a secret as well. In Gawain’s case, the girl is more of a public secret. The readers is aware of the his gain, however, Gawain lacks the knowledge of others knowing also. This is represented by the three strikes by the Green Knight. The strike scrapes Gawain's neck then Gawain reacts in defense as the green knight begins to tell him the meaning behind the strikes. The knight clarifies that the first two demonstrated his honest on the first two nights during the game of gifts; the third strike demonstrated his half truth. “...so twice you were faithful therefore twice, I left no scar.” Gawain chooses to keep the grilled as a reminder of his wrongdoing and states “... shall wear it with good will, but not for it’s gold, nor it’s silks and streamers, and not for the sake of it’s wonderful workmanship—but as a sign of my sin.” Sir Gawain then returns home and remains honest about the nature of this tough journey that he needed to endure.

Finally, Gawain provides evidence of his worthiness as a knight as a result of enduring the journey’s hardship; he then comprehends the importance of humbleness, integrity, and faithfulness after falling victim to emotional instability and allurement. The journey coerces Gawain into becoming erudite as a representation of authentic growth. His life unravels on the way but his intertwining with himself begins. Transparency of Gawain’s faults and flaws enable him to dig deeper within himself. Gawain encounters drastic changes that make him more worthier as a knight than he’s ever been. Gawain travels along his necessary road to redemption, a journey of innovation and development.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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