In searching for the characteristics of a hero of the fourteen century, the time at which the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight emerged, we find he is a folk hero. This kind of a hero can be someone who actually lived or be mythological in nature.
The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness.
The story of Gawain in this tale is separate from his presence in other Arthurian legends, and in this way, he has become familiar to the "popular consciousness." Because his life is not based upon actual historical occurrences, Gawain's "characteristics and deeds" have been "exaggerated to mythic proportions." The characteristics of Gawain are those associated with King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. While Arthur may have lived in a setting much older than the one Thomas Mallory places him in, in Morte de Arthur —with warriors and chieftains as companions rather...
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