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Romance and Allegory Essay

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 judged by the Green Knight. Gawain's reply to the Green Knight supports the idea of Gawain facing judgment. "Met my master on a mountainside, where he invested in me the honor and the emblem of an imperfect man." In addition, this reply by Gawain suggests that the Green Knight represents God. The Green Knight represents God in many different ways. The first and most obvious feature of God that the Green Knight represents is his judging Sir Gawain. Like God, the Green Knight sets Gawain out on a journey filled with temptations and challenges. The Green Knight tests Gawain's courage, honor, and strength during the three days at the Castle Hautdesert. Each day at the castle Gawain faces a temptation (the Fa...

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