Objectives: The student will identify and analyze characteristics of a medieval romance. The students will explore the key idea of honor.
Medieval Romance pages 224-225 Author unknown (he was known as the Pearl Poet) Poem was written in the second half of the 14 th century The poem was found in a manuscript from around 1400 with several other poems, nothing is known of the manuscript’s author. The poet was well-educated.
Gawain is an example of the perfect Knight The Code of Chivalry represented a combination of military and Christian ideals including: –Faith-- Bravery –Modesty-- Honor –Loyalty-- Courtesy -- trawthe (truth, fidelity, devotion) keeping one’s word and remaining faithful to vows.
Medieval Romance: a verse or prose narrative that usually involves adventurous heroes, idealized love, exotic places, and supernatural events. Characteristics of Romance (literature): –Idealized or larger than life characters –A hero motivated by love, faith, honor, or adventurousness –Exotic settings and supernatural or magical elements –Hidden or mistaken identity
Inferences: a logical guess about a text or character based on your own experiences or evidence and clues found in the text.
Summary In the story, Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table, accepts a challenge from a mysterious warrior who is completely green. The "Green Knight" offers to allow anyone to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts the challenge, and beheads him in one blow, only to have the Knight stand up, pick up his head, and remind Gawain to meet him at the appointed time. Gawain's struggle to meet the appointment, and the adventures involved, cause this work to be classified as an Arthurian tale involving themes of chivalry and loyalty.
Symbolism: Green In English folklore and literature, Green has traditionally been used to symbolize nature and its embodied attributes, namely those of fertility and rebirth. Stories of the medieval period further portray it as representing love and the base, natural desires of man (lust). Green is also known to have signified witchcraft, devilry and evil for its association with faeries and spirits of early English folklore. It also had an association with decay and toxicity.
Symbolism: Green and Gold The color, when combined with gold, as is the case with both the Green Knight and the girdle, is seen as representing the fading away of youth.
Symbolism: the Girdle Critics who see the poem through a Christian lens see Gawain's trust in the girdle as a replacement for his trust in God to save him from the axe-wound. A girdle in the days of the Pearl-Poet was, “a belt worn around the waist, used for fastening clothes or for carrying a sword, purse, etc.”
Symbolism: The Green Knight Because of his strange color, many scholars believe him to be a manifestation of the Green Man figure common in medieval art. Others see him as being an incarnation of the Devil himself. Another possible interpretation of the Green Knight is to view him as a fusion of these two deities, at once representing both good and evil and life and death as self-proliferating cycles. This interpretation embraces the positive and negative attributes of the colour green and ties in with the enigmatic motif of the poem.
Themes Hunting Seduction Games Times and seasons