Honor in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Sir Gawain

Towards the end of the tale about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain tells the Green Knight's wife "this is the bond of the blame that I bear in my neck this is the harm and the loss I have suffered, the cowardice and covetousness in which I was caught, the token of my covenant in which I was taken." Gawain was talking about a piece of lace that the lady had given him to protect him from the blade of the Green Knight. Like many of the tales from that era, honor was Sir Gawain and the Green Knight's primary subject. The entire premise of the story is based on the fact that the Green Knight had heard so much about the honor of the Knight's of King Arthur's Round Table, that he decided to discover for himself whether that honor was warranted or not.

During that era, honor was not just a word to be bandied about by political hacks or talk show hosts. Instead, it was often seen as an evaluation of an individual's trustworthiness, or it attempted to determine how the person would act in certain situations. The person's sense of honor was directly linked to the person's actions, and Sir Gawain's actions determined that he was honorable up to a point (and isn't that true of everyone?).

What the Green Knight discovers is that there is honor among Knights, and that honor is taken very seriously. He also discovers, however, that there are human limits to being honorable, even amongst those in society who are considered the most honorable of them all. What is interesting about the tale, is that Sir Gawain discovers the limit of his honor as well, and also discovers that his actions regarding honor are lifelong as he states "I must needs wear it (the piece of…

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