Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The plot of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight revolves around two games that Gawain agrees to play. The first game involves an exchange of blows from an axe. The second game revolves around hunting for sport and hunting for sexual favors. In both games Gawain is asked to keep promises and abide by a code of honor, rules, and customs. We also have the games of appearance and reputation because it defines a person’s character. We also have the game of time – it governs the fate of each game. Gawain’s character is defined through Christian beliefs and knightly deeds and courtesy. Courtesy requires a romance to be one of perfect manners, give delight to all with conversation, and to treat ladies with worshipful respect.
The first game is set on New Year’s Eve during the Christmas feast at King Arthur’s Court, where the customary exchange of gifts, the seating arrangement was based on honor of men and beauty of women for the feast are both in place, however, there is still the required “marvelous event” a story much be told or a challenge must be made before the feast can unfold. Enter the Green Knight, a magical character, who is so named because of his green appearance. The green represents his connection to nature; and the apparel of both he and his horse is a testament to his wealth. The Green Knight claims he has heard tales of bravery from the men of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. The famous Knights of the Round Table are challenged to a game of beheading. Gawain is brave and agrees to exchange a single blow with an axe to the neck of the Green Knight. Gawain will then have to accept a single blow, one year from now, to his neck with an axe in a setting that is not yet known. Arthur’s joy has been captured and the feast can begin. The Green Knight picks up his head and speaks, reminding Gawain of his promise.