Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

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Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

In the Medieval Age (1066-1450), a new form of narrative literature came into being in French and English which are called ‘Medieval Romance’ or ‘Chivalric Romance’. In English, there had been composed more than sixty romances. Some of the notable romances are –Chanson de Roland, Geste of Robin Hood, Sir Gawayne and the Greene knight, Sir Orfeo, Sir Launfal, The Avowing of Arthur etc.

A study of well-read Medieval Romances shows that there are some features or characteristics which are generally common to all to the romances. They are-

First, Medieval Romances deal with the themes of chivalric love.

Secondly, the hero of such a romance is often a warrior or Knight who represents courtly virtues like courage, honour, mercifulness, dutifulness, truthfulness etc.

Thirdly, the hero of such a romance fights alone against some evil powers such as monsters, giants or witches to rescue a fair lady in distress or peril.

Fourthly, the hero of such a romance undertakes an adventurous and thrilling journey to a romantic, mysterious and wonderful fairyland.

Fifthly, the materials or the sources of Medieval Romances were taken from history or legends but the narration was fully imaginative far from being a reality.

Sixthly, the romances were written in rhymed or unrhymed verses, and later on few were written in prose.

Seventhly, the main purpose of composing such romances was to provide entertainment to the illiterate persons who listened to the tales sung or read aloud to them.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, many romances were produced concerning the exploits of Arthur the king and his Knights which are called Arthurian Cycles of Romances. For instance,- Sir Orfeo, Sir Launfal, The Avowing of Arthur, Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight may be mentioned here.

Among the Arthurian Cycles of Romances, ‘Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight’ is the best-known one. Now, let us analyze ‘Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight’ as a medieval romance.

‘Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight’ deals with the theme of chivalric love. In it, the hero Sir Gawayne is a Knight of the court of Arthur who fights against a giant clad in green who appears dramatically at Arthur’s court. The Greene Knight challenges one of Arthur’s Knights to strike him a blow with his heavy axe on the condition that the Knight will find a blow in return. Among the Knights of King Arthur’s court, one by the name of Sir Gawayne accepts the challenge and severs the Greene Knight’s head with one blow. The Greene Knight, however, picks up his severed head and leaves the court with the warning that Gawayne should remain faithful to his promises. Accordingly, after a year Sir Gawayne sets out in search of the Greene Knight. After this long thrilling adventurous journey through the wilderness, Sir Gawayne reaches the castle of the Greene Knight. There he is tempted by the Greene Knight’s wife but he remains firm to his truthfulness. The Green Knight, however, fails to defeat him and Sir Gawayne returns to Arthur’s court safely and honorably. Thus we see that Sir Gawayne is an emblem of courtly love, honour, courage, dutifulness, faithfulness, and morality.

The romance of Sir Gawayne is an Arthurian one as he belongs to the court of Arthur. The story begins dramatically in the court of Arthur. He represents the courtly vigour of Arthur.

In brief to say, ‘Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight’ is an ideal Medieval Romance as it bears all the common characteristics of a perfect romance such as Gawayne is the hero that represents courtly virtues, and who fights against a giant called Greene Knight, he takes an adventurous journey to a romantic fairyland. Besides this, though this romance has a historical basis yet the narration is highly imaginative and supernatural.

From the above discussion, though brief, we can come to the conclusion that ‘Sir Gawayne is perfect Medieval Romance’. 0 0 0.

Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

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Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

N. B. The article ‘Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance’ originally belongs to the book entitled ‘Critical Essays on English Poetryby Menonim Menonimus.

Sir Gawayne and the Greene Knight as a Romance

Books on Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period (500 AD-622 AD)
  15. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Early Islamic Period (622 AD-661 AD) …

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.

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