Chivalry In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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The Arthurian legends, as the name implies, are about the fanciful King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and their adventures fighting evil, righting wrongs, and rescuing damsels in distress. They display both the best and worst of man’s ideals and nature; they show how he strives for perfection but always ends up falling short. The Arthurian legends show man’s desire to be better than he is, especially by following the code of chivalry. They glorify characters like Sir Gawain, who agreed to put his neck on the line, literally, for the sole reason that he promised to do so. In “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” he “…bowed toward the ground/ And let his skin show clear;/ However his heart might pound, / He would not show his fear” (llll. 96-99). In another story about King Arthur, The Once and Future King, the page Tom of…show more content…
These same legends also show man at his worst. For example, Mordred wanted to take his step-mother-aunt as his wife. According to Le Morte D’Arthur, he “…settled in Camelot and made overtures to Queen Gwynevere to marry him” (Malory 161). I won’t go into detail as to why this is wrong besides the fact that she was already King Arthur’s wife and Sir Launcelot’s lover. Mordred was also excommunicated after threatening to behead the Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the worst punishments that the Church could impart upon someone. After threatening the Archbishop with death, he “…withdrew, and after excommunicating Sir Mordred, abandoned his office and fled to Gastonbury” (Malory 161). Though he may be a good and loyal knight, nobody is perfect, and Sir Bedivere is no exception. King Arthur told him to throw Excalibur into the lake, but when Bedivere “…came to the water’s edge, it appeared so beautiful that he could not bring himself to throw it in, so instead he hid it by a tree, and then returned to the king” (Malory 165). He let his greed get in the way of his loyalty to his king and
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