The Meaning of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”

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“The story begins with the green interrupting a dinner between king arthur and his round table he challenges any of them to exchange one blow for another the only one to accept was sir gawain sir gawain chops off the green knights head and then the green knight rides away holding his own head a year later sir gawain goes off to find the green knight he finds a castle where the lord invites him in the lord plays a peculiar game with sir Gawain the game is whatever the lord gets that day he gives to sir gawain and whatever sir gawain gets he gives to the lord then a few days later he meets the green knight he swings an axe to Sir Gawain’s neck three times but never cuts off his neck then the green knight reveals himself as the lord and tells Sir Gawain of his honor.


One of the themes of sir Gawain and the green knight is the nature of chivalry. Chivalry in the story shapes the values of sir gawain gawain adheres to them and is what keeps him from sleeping with the host’s wife and is also what keeps him alive when the green knight recognizes his chivalry. Another theme in this story is “everyone is human” this is shown when he flinches at the green knight’s axe and accepts the ladys offering of the green girdle showing that he is human.

Use of color and imagery

In “sir Gawain and the green knight there are four colors used as an image green, red, gold, white. Green is used most often. It is used as an image of life nature, renewal, hope, and safety. The immortal knight is green which represents life and renewal because when sir Gawain took a blow out the green knights neck he survived and put his head back on. The barrow where sir gawain met with the knight represents nature and the green sash that the lord’s wife gives to sir Gawain represents hope, and safety. The color red is used as an image of blood,sacrifice , love and courage the blood that sheds from sir Gawain and the knight when their necks are hit represents blood and sacrifice. Sir Gawain puts on a velvet red cloak when he has to face the green knight which is a symbol of courage. Gold is used as a symbol of money, value and success. The lord’s wife offers a gold ring of much value but he does not accept it. After the green knight reveals that he is the lord he gives him a gold embroidered girdle because Gawain succeeded. The last color is white which is an image of goodness and virtue. The green knight tells Gawain “i consider you polished as white and as perfectly clean” this shows that the green knight sees sir Gawain as a good person

How the story fits into romantic genre

Sir Gawain and the green knight fits into the romance genre because there is a romance between the lords wife and sir Gawain she comes to his room often and gives him innocent kisses although she wants to give him more there is some sort of love connection between them because sir Gawain promises to tell no one of the gifts she gave him he is convinced that she loves him because he swears to her that he will be her humble knight in the end the lord tells Gawain that he knows of his wifes visits to his room because he sent her to test him. The story ends with the lord saying to Gawain “as for my wife she will be your friend no more a threat to your life”

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The Meaning of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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