In the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight written by the Pearl Poet, Sir Gawain is proven to be a true knight. The Pearl Poet proves Sir Gawain’s true knightmenship in many different ways. Sir Gawain succeeds in earning the title “true knight” by passing the Green Knight’s test and proving the valor of King Arthur’s knights, but he makes mistakes in the process because he is human, like everyone else.
The first thing that Sir Gawain does in the story that proves that he is indeed a true knight is that he takes the challenge of the beheading game that the Green Knight purposes. At first King Author took the challenge, but Sir Gawain volunteered to take the challenge so that his King, King Author is protected. The fact that Sir Gawain does this and that fact that he shows up to the second challenge a year later shows that he is brave and that he is a great knight.
Sir Gawain’s character also proves that he is morally strict in keeping his honorable reputation as a Knight because when the Green Knight’s beautiful wife tempts Sir Gawain, although he knew he would die in a few days time, he never fell into her manipulative seduction scheme. No matter how persistent “the lady demeaned her as one that loved him much”, Sir Gawain always “fenced with her featly, ever flawless in manner. ”(58).
This sends a powerful message to the reader about Sir Gawain’s morality as a person, being able to resist the very temptation that had brought so many other great men to their knees. The Knights were also expected to be the gallant, zealous defenders of Camelot. Sir Gawain’s perseverance and bravery definitely resembles that of an ideal knight. During his long journey, Sir Gawain “found a foe before him, save at few for a wonder; and so foul were they and fell that fight he must needs and thus conquering each and every one of the beasts that challenges him” (41).
The knight was also stunningly brave when he went to receive his repayment from the Green Knight. Even though his guide warned him of his nonexistent chances of surviving, Sir Gawain nevertheless presses onwards, replying that “…if I here departed fain in fear now to flee, in the fashion thou speakest, I should a knight coward be, I could not be excused. Noy, I’ll fare to the Chapel, whatever chance may befall…” (85). Sir Gawain’s unwavering bravery further justifies his rightful title as an ideal knight.
Through living up to the expected virtues of knighthood such as chastity, selflessness, bravery, and piety, Sir Gawain proves himself time and time again his worthiness to be recognized as the ideal knight. Each time the knight faces a different challenge or trial, his consequent decisions reveal a little about his character. It is nearly impossible to compare the virtues and criterion of the ideal knight to Sir Gawain’s actions and not recognize the stunning. As Sir Gawain and the Green Knight closes to an end, the reader is left with the impression that Sir Gawain had indeed fulfilled his duties as the ideal knight.