What is the theme of the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a whole?
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the story of how Sir Gawain encounters the Green Knight and his subsequent adventures. It is a coming of age story, in a sense. Sir Gawain as he appears at the start of the tale is a knight who is physically strong and of a noble family. He has great potential, but he has yet to prove himself as a mature adult who understands the moral as well as the physical character required of a knight.
Over the course of the poem, Gawain faces various forms of temptation to behave badly and at points violates the unwritten rules of chivalry by doing what leads to easy success rather than what is right. He gradually develops as a character and learns that doing the morally right action, even if difficult, is more important than mere physical prowess or immediate success. The main theme of the story, therefore, is moral maturation.
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