In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," what are the five characteristics of the fifth five and how do they manifest the goodness which Gawain embodies?In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," Gawain is...

In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," what are the five characteristics of the fifth five and how do they manifest the goodness which Gawain embodies?

In "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," Gawain is described as "good" Gawain. His character is clearly outlined in part 28 were the famous pen-tangle on his shield is explained. The first four of the five points (5 senses, 5 fingers, 5 wounds, 5 joys) are followed by what is translated as the "fifth five." 

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The characteristics of the fifth element (or point) that describes Gawain's goodness are frankness, fellowship, purity, courtesy, and compassion. These characteristics are challenged when the Green Knight's wife tempts Sir Gawain in the second sport (or "covenant") placed before him. Sir Gawain proves that he is frank when he faces the Lady and asks her what she desires from him; he then shows fellowship and courteous by not making her feel embarrassed at the compromising situation in which they find themselves and by playing along with her game, too. Then, Gawain is pure because he does not break his loyalty to the Lord or the Lady (until the third day); and finally, it all comes full circle when he admits to his mistake when he is once confronted with his folly.

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