As a teacher of language arts, what would you say are the most important themes of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that I should cover with my students?

npoore84 | Student

One theme that is present in Sir Gawain is the theme of chivalry. The world of Sir Gawain is governed by certain codes of behavior set in the community. The idea of chivalry greatly defines the actions and behaviors of Sir Gawain and the other characters present in the poem. "The ideals of Christian morality and knightly chivalry are brought together in Gawain’s symbolic shield. The pentangle represents the five virtues of knights: friendship, generosity, chastity, courtesy, and piety." A major part of this poem is if Sir Gawain can keep to the code of chilvalry. 

The Letter of the Law is also a theme present in the poem. The word covenant is used consistently which alludes to the word covenant in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. The covenant in the Old Testment followed the Abrahamic Covenant which was very strict and the people were told exactly what they needed to do. The covenant in the New Testament is less strict and was made between Christ and his followers during his life. Teaching the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law is necessary for deep analysis of this poem.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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