Gawain Questions

To Be or Not To Be.... A knight To be or not to be... a Knight truly is the
question presented through this story, which is a tale of Gawains trials and
tribulations on his journey to the Green Chapel. First, before acknowledging

Gawain as being or not being a knight, one must first know what a knight is. In
reference to the Pentangle a knight or Gawain must be: "... first, he was
faultless in his five senses, Nor found ever to fail in his five fingers, And
all his fealty was fixed upon the five wounds That Christ got on the cross, as
the creed tells; ... That all his force was founded on the five joys That the
high Queen of heaven had in her child. ... The fifth of the five fives followed
by the knight Were beneficence boundless and brotherly love And pure mind and
manners, that none might impeach, And compassion most precious-these peerless
five Were forged and made fast in him, foremost of men." (Ll. 640-655) This
excerpt from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight demonstrates on what a knight
should be when looked upon from the Pentangle mode of being a knight. What
pertain to the Natural/Real Realm would be the five senses and five fingers. The
five senses part is used to gain knowledge of the world and worldly wage. The
five fingers are the deeds that are done. What pertain to the Religious,

Spiritual, Christian Realm would be the faith in the five wounds of Christ would
be Fealty and Force. Fealty is the faithfulness in the five wounds of Christ.

Force or the force in battle is inspired by the five joys of Mary. What pertain
to the Chivalric Realm are Beneficence, Brotherly Love & Truth, Pure Mind,

Manners, and Pite. Beneficence pertains to the generosity that the knight
bestows. Brotherly Love & Truth pertains to the fellowship and truth in
which the knight bestows. Pure Mind pertains to the chastity that the knight
shows through his encounters with women and their temptations. Manners pertains
to the courtesy that the knight shows to the people that he comes upon. Pite, or
piety, pertains to the compassion that the knight shows when he encounters
different situations. (GP) The narrator defines Gawain as being: "... in
good works, as gold unalloyed, devoid of all villainy, with virtues adorned in
sight." (Ll. 633-635) This basically states that he was a model of a good
guy. He kept himself out of trouble, we know this by reason of the narrator
stating that Gawain was the "Devoid of all villainy." This statement
says that Gawain is lacking in any sort of evil. It seems to be that the Green

Knight symbolically represents a villainous being that crashes in on a party to
play a medieval "Russian Roulette." In doing so causes an upheaval
among the Knights of the Round Table. The Green Knight storms in and asks
someone to chop his head off. At this part of the story it seems quite
questionable as to his reasons for doing so. Gawain responds to the beheading
game challenge in a humble, yet heroic sense. After the Green Knight barges into

King Arthur's court and criticizes the Knights of the Round Table saying,
"Where is now your arrogance and your awesome deeds... for all cower and
quake..."(l. 87, 91) The Green Knight is now saying that the Knights of the

Round Table are cowards. He is calling them out. The only one to accept the
challenge is Arthur strictly to show that he is not a coward. Just as Arthur is
about to decapitate the Green Knight Gawain speaks up and says, "I beseech,
before all here, that this melee may be mine." (l. 115-116) Here Gawain is
speaking up and telling Arthur that if anyone will do this that it will be him.

Gawain shows a great deal of courage in accepting this challenge for the reason
that no one else, aside from Arthur, would except the challenge. Gawain finds
hospitality and shelter at the castle of Bercilak, unbeknownst to Gawain, the

Green Knight. Bercilak made an agreement that "whatever I win in the woods

I will give you at eve, and all you have earned you must offer me." (Ll.

1105-1107) This agreement that was made means that whatever Gawain gets in the
castle he must give back to Bercilak. This agreement is complicated for the
reason that Bercilak's wife is trying to seduce Gawain. With so some many

Christian elements present, it could be argued that symbolically that