Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is only one of many stories written down in the medieval period about Sir Gawain, who was a mainstay of household miscellanies and other collections of popular tales. Sir Gawain was known as "the good knight," and in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, he does indeed fulfill this purpose.
The poet describes how Gawain fits the ideal of the chivalrous knight in describing how his "pentangle," or five-pointed star, emblemizes generosity, courtesy, piety, chastity, and chivalry. He is also the bravest man in King Arthur's court, and the only one who is willing to take on the formidable Green Knight. These attributes are appropriate to the romantic hero of a medieval tale.
Gawain is also sent a challenge by a mysterious supernatural figure in the form of the Green Knight, who the poet later tells us was enchanted by Morgan le Fay. This is also a key trope of medieval romance. (Compare also such figures as Dame Ragnelle in The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell.)
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