Romance and Allegory Essay
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is justifiably an allegory. An allegory is a narrative constructed by representing general concepts (Sin, Despair, and God) as persons. Many characters in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight have features that represent general concepts. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight can be interpreted allegorically by reviewing the characteristics and features of Gawain, the Green Knight, the Fair Lady, and the events that link the characters together. Some of the allegorical features found in the characters are obvious.
The character Sir Gawain has the most obvious allegorical features within the poem. Sir Gawain is more than a knight; he represents "everyman" on a quest. During the late 1300's noble men displayed five classical virtues--brotherly love, good manners, compassion, open-mindedness, and beneficence. One can interpret Gawain's imperfectness as "everyman's sins". This idea becomes clear when Gawain states, "My journey is to judgment surely". Gawain represents "everyman" on a quest because at the end of every quest one receives judgment. Each mistake that Gawain makes represents man's sins. At the end of Sir Gawain's journey to find the Green Knight he is ju
By wearing the armor, Gawain is cheating himself of God's fate. The Green Knight tests Gawain's courage, honor, and strength during the three days at the Castle Hautdesert. The fox uses its cunning personality to elude hunters, making for a great hunt. The Fair Lady is much like the fox in the way she is able to cleverly answer each one of Gawain's replies and persuade him into accepting the green girdle. " In addition, this reply by Gawain suggests that the Green Knight represents God. This is the same with the Fair Lady and her striking beauty. The allegorical interpretation of the Fair Lady and Sir Gawain's encounters is that of a man on a quest, having to overcome different temptations and challenges along his way. The fox is not a great prize in itself, but the honor that it stands for is priceless. The Fair Lady represents not only "temptation", but the fox as well. At Gawain's judgment, the Green Knight reveals his knowledge of the incident to Gawain. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is more than an Arthurian Romance, it is also an allegory. Gawain's reply to the Green Knight supports the idea of Gawain facing judgment. The first and most obvious feature of God that the Green Knight represents is his judging Sir Gawain. It is the ultimate hunt, not because of the prize, but because of the chase.