This article suggests that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight presents a broadcritique of aspects of chivalry such as Gawain's attention to form over substance and hisconfusion between chivalry and religion.
"'Latent Content' and 'The Testimony in the Text': Symbolic Meaning in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." Oxford University Press 38.150 (1987): 145-68.
Factual information on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:
King Authur's court is in the midst of acelebration that has taken place for fifteen days. They are celebrating the New Year, andin the middle of their celebration, the Green Knight and his green horse come barging intothe hall. Sir Gawain is the youngest knight of the Round Table. He is the only one thatvolunteers to play the "game" with the Green Knight. The game is that thechallenger gets a chance to hit the Green Knight now, but in a year and a day, he must goto the Green Knight's chapel and then the Green Knight will test him and if he fails thetests, the Green Knight will hit him. The Green Knight has no fear, and he even lowers hisneck to make it easier for Gawain. Gawain bravely cuts off the Green Knight's head, andthe Green Knight proceeds to pick it up. Then the head speaks to the people on the dais,and he reminds them of the deal. The Green Knight then rides off on his horse with hishead in his hand.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Symbols from …
The passage begins at the conclusion of dinner. The author says that "Chaplains inchapels and churches about rang the bells aright, reminding all men of holy evensong ofthe high feast" ( 221). Gawain sits next to the lord, and there hereceives a greeting like no other man on earth. This shows the great amount of respectthat the lord has for Gawain. At that point they embrace; this was a common way ofgreeting people. Then "The lady, that longed to look on the knight, came forth fromher closet with her comely maids. The fair hues of her flesh, her face and her hair andher body and her bearing were beyond praise, and excelled the queen herself, as Sir Gawainthought" ( 222). This shows us that Gawain definitely has a preferencefor young ladies. We then learn about another lady, who accompanies the beautiful wife ofthe lord. He says that she "...was an ancient, it seemed, and held in high honor byall men about" ( 222). Gawain then compares the appearance of the twoladies. One has on a "...headdress, hung all with pearls; her bright throat and bosomfair to behold, fresh as the first snow fallen upon hills; a wimple the other one woreround her throat; her swart chin well swaddled, swarted all in white; her foreheadenfolded in flounces of silk the framed a fair fillet..." ( 222). Gawainhas a great attraction to the younger woman. Gawain bows to the elder one and salutes,embraces and kisses the other one.
Symbolism in “Sir Gawain and The Green Knight” | …
Bloomfield, Morton. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: An Appraisal.” Publications of the Modern Language Association 76.1 (1961): 7–19. DOI:
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
As long as Gawain is facing the dangerswhich grow out of his bargain with the Green Knight, which does not test hiscontradicting loyalties in love, his spiritual faith is clear and unshakenand his prowess and courage hold.
SparkNotes: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Part 1 …
Written in Middle English of the late Fourteenth Century, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight survives in a single manuscript which also contains three religious poems including Pearl, written it seems by the same author, who is therefore referred to as The Pearl Poet.