Sir Gawain: A Hero's Journey

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By sending Gawain into a hero’s journey or quest the Gawain author tangibly represents contrasting situations through objects such as the girdle and by taking these objects Gawain survives the journey but loses his honor which shows the war between the code of chivalry and the natural desire to protect oneself. Gawain had a circular journey which represents a hero’s journey. For most journeys, the hero leaves his quest with some sort of gain in knowledge or wisdom. Gawain gains the knowledge that he is human and not perfect and that he also has faults. Comparative scenes in the poem that incorporated tangible items in them were the hunting scenes that reflected into bedroom scenes with Bertilak's wife. In these scenes the animals that were…show more content…
The five wits or senses, the five fingers, the five wounds of Christ, the five joys of Mary, and the five virtues. These all represent the chivalric code as a whole and every knight must follow these rules to be a chivalric knight. Gawain goes through five tests throughout his journey. Each test represents a point of the pentangle. The first test is when he accepts the challenge of the Green Knight at the round table, this represents the 5 wits because he stands up for King Arthur. The second test is to strike the Green Knight with his axe as hard as he can which is representative of the five fingers or strength. The third test is to keep his word to the Green Knight and find him in a year and a day which is representative of the five wounds of Christ. The fourth test is the journey which is centered around bravery which is thought to be the 5 joys of Mary. Finally, the fifth test which is the stay at Lord Bertilak’s castle which had many temptations to sin which represents the 5 virtues. Gawain takes the girdle to save himself from the Green Knight and breaks the pentangle by not following the 5 virtues which is thought to be the most important point of the pentangle. Gawain breaks the symbol of the pentangle for his own greedy needs and this adds to one of the main ideas of the chivalric code. Because of all the tangible items on his journey, Gawain had to pick between the chivalric code which sets a standard of being perfect and protecting himself which is the natural way of human beings, therefore creating a self vs. self conflict that drove Sir Gawain to sin and break the neverending cycle of the

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