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.
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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Yes, I agree with you that Sir Gawain, King Arthur's nephew and a knight of the Arthurian Round Table, may be considered a heroic adventurer in his pursuit of the mysterious Green Knight. The way Sir Gawain accepts the challenge of the Green Knight's beheading game, and then undertakes the perilous adventure to receive the blow back at the Green Chapel, and the way he exchanges courtesies with the Lord and Lady Bertilak, suggest that the knight represents the ideals of chivalry, courage and heroism. First, he accepts the challenge to behead the Green Knight. Second, he keeps his promise to visit the Green Knight's chapel in order to receive back. Third, he behaves most courteously with the Lady who attempts to seduce the Christian knight. Although Sir Gawain's decision to keep back the gift of the girdle for the sake of personal security is looked upon as an act of shame, he returns to Camelot victorious after completing his mission of pursuing the Green Knight.