Sir Gawain…a more realistic portrayal of nobility

Alas we come across come across a tale with some more nuances regarding the protagonist’s morality. Whereas in previous tales protagonists were depicted as flawless demigods(regardless of whether they really were or not), this Sir Gawain is quite blatantly depicted in dilemmas in which he does not always make the best choice: frolicking with the lord’s wife, despite his attempts to resist her advances and fully have an affair with her; accepting her girdle as a gift and not fulfilling his oath with the lord to exchange it as one of his earnings. Furthermore, besides explicit dilemmas, he is also depicted at times as lazy and some may even say craven, which is certainly something not seen before. Indeed, an entirely noble man would want to join the hunt and display his skill as a warrior.

Additionally, it seems from the perspective the narrator creates, that the more valiant behavior—a proper demonstration of nobility—would be not to be fearful in confronting the Green Knight, but instead have faith enough in their God so as to not be afraid of the possibility of death. In the case of this last comment, however, I do not think that any man other than a fool would rely solely on divine help, so I do not blame him myself; instead I merely point out the deviation from the ideal behavior, not seen with previous protagonists. Despite some clear foibles, I believe that we can and should still hold Sir Gawain in high regards. What mortal man has not lapsed even the slightest at times? As a result, the presentation of these predicaments offer a refreshing and introspective view of the human psyche with its imperfections, allowing for self-reflection and ultimately an opportunity to improve as an individual, albeit in my case I am already a god, and a demigod before that, so the latter is for all of you small humans.

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One thought on “Sir Gawain…a more realistic portrayal of nobility

  1. I remembrir my first afaire! Let me ask you Vespasian, do you enjoy such pleasures in your accord of Sir Gawain? Hmm? Does it enflame the gourd above your shoulders? With a tongue as sharp as my bodkin it’s no surprise your own Church resents you! An emperor sitting with the commoners on the pew!
    Is it true a Sir Nero, once ruler, relieved himself of duties in a most unpleasant way when he learned of your eventual rise?
    At least I can seek great joy in being forgotten and washed on the shore when my time comes. A certain victory. For you my dear emperor, that’s a pleasure just out of reach.

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