Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

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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.

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