Presentation on theme: "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight English II Pre-AP
2 I. Timeline a little context Bayeux Tapestry 1077 1154—An English King (Henry II) back on the throne1066—William the Norman invades and conquers EnglandMedieval PeriodViking/Anglo-Saxon RuleNorman Rule410—Romans retreat from England991—Battle of Maldon1347—Black Death kills 50% of the population
3 II. Medieval Literature & Poetic Form Alliterative RevivalBob-and-Wheel: a two- or three-syllable “bob” followed by a quatrain (the “wheel”)Bob is the bridge between long series of alliterative lines and the wheelBob’s stress is on the last syllableWheel usually contains three stressed syllables per lineRhyme scheme (beginning with bob) is ABABA
5 III. The Manuscript Exists only in one 14th-century manuscript Manuscript containing Gawain also contains three other poems, including PearlManuscript’s name = Cotton Nero A.x. (Hmmm… does this sound familiar?)Author = the “Pearl Poet;” clearly familiar with life of the nobiility
6 III. RomanceRomance: An adventure tale that recounts the heroic deeds of knights and celebrates their chivalric way of life. They convey medieval values of loyalty and Christian faithCommon Characteristics:Opens with a feastInvolves a challengeTells adventures of a young, nearly perfect heroInvolves supernatural elementsTeaches the hero a moral lessonIncludes women as temptationShows cyclical qualities of nature
7 IV. Epics Vs. Romances Long narrative poem About the exploits of a single hero who is usually the savior/protector of his peopleThe hero fights for an ideal, not to save his tribe. Usually goes on a quest.Exists in a warrior/shame culture (don’t shame your family name!)Exists in a courtly culture, where courtesy and reverence for women is as important as fighting skillRealistic setting (even if fantastic elements exist, such as dragons). The places, people, and economic conditions are often real.Idealization of places and people. Not meant to be realistic.Ends in death of the hero (Glorious and Honorable!)Happy ending! (almost always)
8 V. Code of ChivalryChivalry: the code that guides the behavior of knights in romance literature. It requires a knight to…Swear allegiance to his lordFight to uphold ChristianitySeek to redress all wrongsHonor truth by word and deedBe faithful to one ladyAct with bravery, courtesy, and modesty
9 VI. Courtly LoveCourtly love: comes from “rules” the were developed to regulate the behavior of loversLove songs and poems tell of a man’s unrequited love for a womanLovelorn hero feels inferior to the woman and flatters her in song and verseMan does everything he can to refine himself to become worthy of her loveMan desires to serve the woman and be rewarded with loveTo love her is exquisite pain, yet it gives him great joy (a paradox!)The woman can A) advance the affair and reward him, OR B) reject and spurn him.
10 VII. Plot Structure Interweaving narratives Beheading gameQuestSeduction taleBeheading Game – common in oral poetryOutsider comes to court and challenges.Hero accepts challenge.Hero gives outsider a blow, cutting off his head.Hero journey to the court of the outsider.Outsider tests the hero .Hero accepts the return blow and returns to court.
11 VIII. What do I Look For? Archetypes Use of the bob-and-wheel Traits of Romances (and contrasts to what might happen in an epic)Structure – great deal of structural unityUse of parallels and balanceUse of contrast and antithesis