Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Questions and Answers
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What conflicts does Gawain face in the castle in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As he continues on his merry way to track down the Green Knight Gawain stops off at a castle where he enjoys the hospitality of the noble lord Bertilak and his wife. During his stay, he's presented with a number of temptations which he must somehow resist if he's to stay true to his knightly code of honor.

The lady of the manor slips into Gawain's bedroom while her husband's out hunting and tries to seduce him. Gawain, however, resists her advances, remaining steadfast to the moral standards by which he's lived his adult life. To succumb to the lady's charms would represent an abuse of Bertilak's generous hospitality, not to mention an attack upon the noble institution of marriage.

Unbeknownst to Gawain, Bertilak is none other than the Green Knight himself in disguise. He knows that if he can tempt Gawain to break the knightly code of honor then he will be better able to defeat him in their forthcoming battle. That he's unable to do this bears eloquent testimony to Gawain's honor as a knight.

Nonetheless, Gawain is still a man for all that, and though he was able to resist the advances of Bertilak's wife, he couldn't resist putting on her magic silk girdle to give him an advantage in the forthcoming duel. As he didn't tell Bertilak about this, the Green Knight is able to get a free shot at Gawain, drawing blood from his neck on his third blow.

A flawed human being he may be, but Gawain is still by far and away the most valiant knight in the whole kingdom, as the Green Knight recognizes with due magnanimity.

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Concerning your question about Sir Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, I'm not completely sure which castle you're referring to, but I'll assume you mean the Green Knight's castle.  The main conflict Gawain faces during his stay at the Green Knight's castle involves the agreement he and the "camouflaged" Green Knight make to exchange with each other anything they might receive during the three days of Gawain's stay.  The Green Knight gives the wild game he kills when he goes hunting to Gawain, for example.  But Gawain is given a magic girdle by the Lady of the house, and the girdle, she says, will protect him from harm.  On the third night of his stay, Gawain does not give the girdle to the Green Knight.

Secondly, Gawain is repeatedly tempted by the Green Knight's wife.  She repeatedly comes to his room and offers herself to him.  He is tempted, but he passes this test and does not accept the wife's offers.

Both of these conflicts are interior and tests of Gawain's character.  In fact, both conflicts are created by the Green Knight to test Gawain.

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