Chivalry In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

913 Words4 Pages
In the article, “Courtesy and Chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: The Order of Shame and the Invention of Embarrassment,” by Derek Pearsall, the author asserts his judgement of separation concerning the entanglement of shame and embarrassment in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Pearsall commences with the idealistic view of medieval romances and Christianity’s supposedly equal role, with chivalry, in comparison to Sir Gawain’s character in this poem. In medieval literature, “religion functions in the poem as it functioned in chivalric life: it provides the rituals that structure the day and year,” and other major influences that significantly impacts characters’ lifestyles (Pearsall 241). On the other hand, Pearsall implies that in…show more content…
He insists that “the body has its reasons, therefore, and there is comedy in the operation of their powers, but the body does not compel the will nor usurp it except in moments of relaxation or absent-mindedness,” thus instinctive reactions cannot be at fault for consequences (Pearsall 243). When Gawain prayed to Mary for “‘some harbour’” against the “pain of the cold,” that is a physical reaction that had driven him to yearn for shelter, so he had no control over his body’s response (32). Regardless, Gawain did fall for temptations that had triggered his pride, and he took actions that cannot be blamed on bodily responses. When he naively accepted the kirtle from the host’s wife and “on his honour hide it from her husband; and then he agreed that no one ever should know,” in hopes of maintaining his pride and reputation, he sinfully hid the green silk, which earned him a scar on his neck (74). Certainly, Gawain’s punishment is to be blamed on himself; the consequences are due to his own predicament of being too prideful in his own embodiment of chivalry, and these temptations crushed his virtues, therefore the blame is on Gawain, forming characteristics that are deemed
Open Document