As seen in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, does Sir Gawain successfully display the 5 virtues of the Pentangle?I had trouble distinguishing the virtues. I read two different versions, and I'm...

As seen in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, does Sir Gawain successfully display the 5 virtues of the Pentangle?

I had trouble distinguishing the virtues. I read two different versions, and I'm getting alternate virtues for each. I personally think Sir Gawain displayed the virtues successfully, but I wanted to hear someone else point of view to write my essay. 

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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According to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain should successfully display the five different virtues as seen on the Pentagle displayed upon one side of his shield (the other side showed an image of Mary). Religiously, the Pentangle represented the five joys of Mary: The Annunciation, the Nativity, the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Assumption. Outside of the religious ideology behind the Pentangle, Sir Gawain's Pentangle is extremely complicated. Each side, flowing into the next, represents the following: five fingers (physical strength), five senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing), the Five Wounds of Christ, the Five Joys of Mary, and the five social virtues (generosity, friendliness, chastity, chivalry, and piety).

In the reading I have completed, J.R.R. Tolkien's version, Sir Gawain does successfully show himself to display the five virtues of the Pentangle. His physical strength allows him to make the challenging journey to the castle of the Green Knight. He shows friendliness through agreeing with Bertilak's requests (to stay in the castle and play the game). He proves himself to be chaste by not giving into the seductive ways of Lady Bertilak. His chivalry is proven by his loyalty to both Queen Guinevere and Lady Bertilak. Lastly, he shows compassion (piety) for King Arthur by stepping forward to take on the challenge.

While at some points Sir Gawain does falter (given his weakening during his seduction), Gawain stays strong and is raised up by King Arthur for proving his knightly character.

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