Literary Elements of Romance Alliteration • Alliteration occurs when the initial sounds of a word, beginning either with a consonant or a vowel, are repeated in close succession. The function of alliteration, like rhyme, might be to accentuate the beauty of language in a given context, or to unite words or concepts through a kind of repetition. Literary Elements of Romance Allusion • A brief reference to a person, event, or place, real or fictitious, or to a work of art. Casual reference to a famous historical or literary figure or event. An allusion may be drawn from history, geography, literature, or religion. Literary Elements of Romance Characterization • The method used by a writer to develop a character. The method includes (1) showing the character's appearance, (2) displaying the character's actions, (3) revealing the character's thoughts, (4) letting the character speak, and (5) getting the reactions of others. Literary Elements of Romance Legend • A tradition or story handed down from earlier times and popularly accepted as true but actually a mix of fact and fiction. The term is also applied to any fictitious tale concerning a real person, event, or place and is likely to be less concerned with the supernatural than a myth. Sir Gawain Vocabulary copiously • plentifully dauntless • fearless; daring intrepid • fearless; courageous blithe • carefree; light-hearted The Pearl Poet • The only existing copy of Sir Gawain (now in a British Museum) was lost and then rediscovered in 1839. Found along with it were poems thought to be by the same writer, titled Pearl, Purity, Patience , and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. • Today the still nameless but renowned poet is referred to simply as “The Pearl Poet.” • Composed Sir Gawain in the northwest of England around 1370. • His sophisticated technique, and his knowledge of French and Latin point to an educated man familiar with the ways of the aristocracy. • May have been a clergyman or a cleric. Romance in Sir Gawain • Considered by some to be the best of all medieval romances. • It contains all the elements of romance: knights, kings, and supernatural creatures. • It also includes the three stages of romance: a dangerous quest, a test of honor and courage, and a return to the point from which the quest began. The Gawain Legend Gawain may have been derived from a pre-Arthurian Welsh hero named Gwalchmai. Gawain was the hero of early versions of the Grail legend and was, in early stories, the owner of the sword Excalibur. Stories about the exploits of Gawain became quite popular in England. In one of these stories, Gawain marries a hag to save the life of King Arthur, only to have her become transformed into a beautiful woman. Gawain is one of the most written about figures in Arthurian legend; hence, his character is also one of the most fluid. He ranges, depending on the source, from a virtuous and perfect embodiment of chivalry to a somewhat philandering low comic character. In the story of the Green Knight, Gawain is portrayed at his most human, as his faults are fully revealed along with his strengths. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 1. What is the initial reaction of Arthur and his knights to the Green Knight? 2. State the challenge that the Green Knight offers to the members of the Round Table. • Fascination • The Green Knight challenges them to exchange blows. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 3. Why does Sir Gawain feel he is the one best qualified to accept the Green Knights challenge? 4. What is Gawain’s tone when he explains why he, not Arthur, should be allowed to meet the Green Knight’s challenge? • He says he is the weakest of the knights and the least likely to be missed. • Modest Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 5. Why does King Arthur allow Gawain to take up the challenge? 6. What is demonstrated by both Gawain and the Green Knight during the feast in Arthur’s castle? • The king’s life should not be risked; also to allow Gawain to make a show of loyalty and bravery. • Daring Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 7. What feeling do King Arthur’s knights experience as the Green Knight picks up his head and leaves Arthur’s castle? 8. What primarily motivates Gawain to seek out the Green Knight a year after their first meeting? • Wonder • Awe • Honor Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 9. Why does Sir Gawain refuse the lady’s gift of a gold ring? 10. Why does he accept her green silk girdle? • He has nothing to offer her in return. • The lady tells him that he cannot be killed while wearing it. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 11. Why does the lady give Gawain the green girdle? 12. What emotion leads Gawain to lie about the green girdle? • To tempt him to do wrong. • Guilt Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 13. During the incident at the Green Chapel, what reasons does the Green Knight give for the three blows of the axe? • First blow—Gawain flinches so the Green Knight stops. • Second blow—The Green Knight stops to see if Gawain has flinched. • Third blow—The Green Knight inflicts a minor gash on Gawain’s neck. 14. What is the Green Knight most interested in testing? • The virtue of a knight of the round table. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 15. What do the events of the story suggest that the Green Knight would have done if Gawain hadn’t lied about the green girdle? 16. In the end, what saves Gawain’s life? • Gawain would have been released, unharmed, from his obligation. • The Green Knight’s mercy. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 17. Why does the Green Knight forgive Gawain? 18. Why does the Green Knight encourage Gawain to keep the girdle? • Gawain confessed his faults fully and offers to do penance. • To remind Gawain of the encounter. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 19. Do you think the Green Knight is meant to be seen as evil? • No, by not killing Gawain he proves that he is not evil. 20. In the final line of the selection, the Green Knight claims that his wife was Sir Gawain’s “fierce foe.” In what ways might the lady be considered Gawain’s foe? • The lady represented a challenge to Gawain’s chivalry. • It was more difficult for him to say no to her advances and gifts than it was for him to accept a blow. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 21. Does Gawain demonstrate the ideals of a chivalric hero? Give examples. • Courage: he goes to meet the Green Knight and accept what may be a fatal blow. • Humility: he says he is the weakest knight and least likely to be missed. • Courtesy: he is respectful when speaking to women. • Loyalty: he steps in to take King Arthur’s place. 22. What are Gawain’s vices or flaws? • Dishonesty • Cowardice Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 23. What was Gawain’s real test? 24. Did he pass? • The lady’s offer of the girdle. • No, he failed this test and gave in to his fear of being killed. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 25. What letter-sounds help to create alliteration in lines 515-518? 26. What overall affect is achieved by the author’s use of alliteration? • c, f, & l The alliteration gives the poem a more rhythmic feeling.