In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the themes of courtly love and chivalry are pivotal to the plot of the story, as Sir Gawain’s character is constantly tested. What forms of love do you see shared between the characters throughout the text? How does this relate to the old medieval ideals of chivalry/courtly love, and what does that tell you about the people or the culture of the time? How does this compare to the cultures of the other periods?
Gawain is noted for being a chaste gentleman; however, his time with Lord and Lady Bertilak challenges his honor. Since courtly love is part of the knighthood tradition, Gawain must walk a fine line between honoring his male host and engaging in courtly games with Lady Bertilak.
Courtly love focuses on a spiritual relationship between a man and a woman. The woman in the relationship is almost always married, making consummation not only impossible but a direct infringement upon the honor of both parties. Therefore, to sleep with Lady Bertilak would be a major misstep, yet Gawain would fail in chivalric conduct if he...
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