Gawain essay

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the three hunts of Bercilak were similar to the three seductions of Gawain. Bercilak and Gawain made a bargain at the castle. Bercilak said «Whatever I earn in the woods will be yours, whatever you win will be mine in exchange.» (Gawain 81) The Green Knight tells Gawain that he was sent by Morgana Le Fay because she wanted to test Gawain's pride and «determine the truth of the Round Table's fame, and the tales that tell of it.» (Gawain 123)

During Bercilak's first hunt, they hunted deer. The hunters were on one side with the peasants and dogs on the other, surrounding the deer. The peasants and dogs made noise and cashed the deer towards the hunters. The hunters slaughtered them as they came near. In Gawian's bedroom, Bercilak's wife came into his room and tried to seduce him. She came in and locked the door trapping him in the room. Gawian was trapped like the deer were trapped in the forest. Gawian used words to talk his way out the situation, but before she left she gave him a kiss.

On the second hunt, they found a boar and trapped it on a mountain. The boar attacked and fought back aggressively. Bercilak faced it one on one and killed it. In Gawain's bedroom, Bercilak's wife made another pass at him. This time she was more aggressive. The hunters used the same tactic on the boar as Bercilak's wife used on Gawain. She tried to wear him down, but it had no used because Gawain still put out. She gave him two kisses before she left his room.

For the third hunt Bercilak tracked a fox. The fox was sly and clever and he chased it all over. Bercilak swung at it and it swerved and ran into the dogs. The dogs killed it. Bercilak's wife tried to be sly like a fox on her third attempt to seduce Gawain. After failing to seduce Gawain, Bercilak's wife tried to give him something to make him break his word. First she offered to give him a ring, which he refused. Then, she offered a magical scarf which he accepted.

The two different situations paralleled each other in symbolism. Bercilak hunted the animals like his wife hunted Gawain. The whole experience was only a test for Gawain and he managed to pass except for taking the scarf and breaking his word.





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