Sir Gawain-Tragic Hero

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a Tragic Story The rise of the tragic heroes seemed to take shape in ancient Greece where such works as Oedipus and Antigone were popular among all classes of people. Aristotle defined a tragedy as "the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself. It incorporates incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish the catharsis of such emotions” (800). Though Greece may be credited with the creation of tragic heroes, the theme is seen in literary works across many different cultures, including England. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of such English work where the development of the main character, Gawain, follows the pattern of the classical tragic…show more content…
In relation to that Sir Gawain can be perceived as a Tragic Hero because he experienced a reversal of fortune, a change and an exact opposite of events which led to his fall. Sir Gawain’s reversal of fortune is evident where he goes to the green chapel to meet with the Green Knight to receive his return blow and it is through this incident that the green knight reveals to Gawain his flaw. Weston’s translation said, “Ah quote Gawain, can this be the Green Chapel? Here might the devil say his matins at midnight! “(45). In this context, Gawain had found the Green knight. Gawain is first given two strokes which were not meant to harm him representing the two days which the lady of the castle came to seduce him. But the third strike left a bruise on his neck with his blood staining the snow representing is disloyalty to the game in receiving the green girdle which was due to his unconditional love for life ultimately his tragic flaw. After trying to arouse a fight, Gawain is told how truly fine a knight he is only his love for life which is his flaw and with regards to knighthood, he broke one of the virtues which made him unworthy to some…show more content…
Aristotle said, “Recognition, as the word itself indicates, is a change from ignorance to knowledge, leading either to friendship or to hostility on the part of those persons who are marked for good fortune or bad” (802). Sir Gawain experiences his recognition after the Green Knight revealed to him who he really is and the test that was put before him. Derek said, “concealing the girdle and so failing to keep the exchange of winnings agreement really what Gawain has done wrong?” (255). Gawain recognizes his flaw as to where he did not stay true to himself and because of his unconditional love for his own life, becomes disloyal in playing the game. According to Weston’s translation, “Then the other stood a great while, still sorely angered and vexed within himself; all the blood flew to his face, and he shrank for shame as the Green Knight spake; and the first words he said were, "Cursed be ye, cowardice and covetousness, for in ye is the destruction of virtue” (49). In this text, Gawain makes it clear how angry he is within himself for such a selfish act, taking his life into consideration more than his moral values. This brings recognition into a brighter picture making Gawain a Tragic hero because of this

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