Would you consider Sir Gawain a hero in his pursuit of the Green Knight? I think Sir Gawain could be looked at as a hero because he travels to meet the Green Knight's challenge knowing that he faces certain death.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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...

(The entire section contains 538 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team