Chivalry in the Middle Ages: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
-poetry or prose
-a focus on chivalry
-“And that you have repeated fully, in your own words, / The whole of the covenant I asked of the King”
-“Only now you must swear to me, upon your word”
The knights at Camelot exhibit behaviors that reflect chivalry. When the Green Knight arrives, he challenges the knights’ honor. Sir Gawain asks King Arthur to let him accept the challenge. He wants to show his loyalty to the king, which is a value of chivalry. Then, the Green Knight makes him promise to keep his word, which is another value of chivalry. If Sir Gawain does not keep his promise, the Green Knight says, he will be a coward.
-he acts out of loyalty
“When they had washed well, they went to sit at the table,
The most famous knights nearest the top, as was proper,
And Guenever, in high spirits, was seated in the middle of them,
In the arrangement of the famous table, with them arrayed around her,
Fine silk, furthermore, in a canopy over her,
Of Toulouse red, and many Tharsian tapestries
Embroidered and set with the finest of jewels
That would have cost a great deal if someone had tried
to buy them.
The most beautiful there was the Queen,
Flashing her gray eye.
No one had ever seen
Anyone lovelier in his day.”
Based on the excerpt, what conclusion can readers draw about Guenever?
-one who fulfills a promise to the queen
-one who upholds strict moral values
“No, I tell you in good faith, it is not a fight I have come for.
These are nothing but beardless boys around this bench.
If I were buckled in armor on a big horse,
There is no man here strong enough to be worth riding against.
And so in this court I call for a Christmas game . . .”
What chivalric value does the Green Knight display in the excerpt?
“This King was staying at Camelot at Christmastime
With many fair lords and the most beautiful ladies
And the whole high brotherhood of the Round Table
In happy festivity and the high revels of the season.”
What element of medieval court culture is evident in the excerpt?
“By God,” the Green Knight said, “I am glad
That I shall have from your hand what I asked for here,
And that you have repeated fully, in your own words,
The whole of the covenant I asked of the King:
Only now you must swear to me, upon your word,
That you will expect, for yourself, wherever you manage
To find me on earth, to be repaid in kind
For what you accord me today before this high company.”
Which statement best describes the chivalric value addressed in the excerpt?
“Yet Arthur would not eat until they were all served.
He seemed full of the joy of youth, almost a boy.
He was happy with his life; he cared little
For lying in bed or sitting still for a long time,
His young blood so stirred him and his wild brain.
And there was a custom, besides, that he meant to keep,
That he had assumed in his noble way: he would not eat
On such a holiday until he had been told
A tale all new of some wonderful event . . .”
Which textual evidence best supports the conclusion that Arthur respects tradition?