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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by Pearl-Poet

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What are three important points of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight?

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One of the most important points of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the generating circumstance. When the Green Knight issues a challenge, it is King Arthur who first accepts. Yet Sir Gawain intervenes, offering himself as a substitute in the knight's game, which is a testament to his character. He is loyal to King Arthur and is willing to offer himself as a sacrifice, if necessary, in order to protect his king. Sir Gawain demonstrates bravery in this moment. Because he accepts the challenge, he is forced to meet the Green Knight again at a later date.

A second moment of great importance in the story is the point at which Sir Gawain decides to accept the girdle from the lord's wife—and to hide it. He has promised to honestly exchange anything he acquires with the lord at the end of each day. At first, Sir Gawain is true to his word, but when he learns that this girdle has the ability to spare him from harm, he decides to conceal it. As it turns out, the lord is aware of this secret; Sir Gawain's actions indicate that his desire for self-preservation outweigh his code of honor in that moment.

A final moment of great importance is when the Green Knight reveals the truth of his identity. He is the lord of the castle, and he has been testing Sir Gawain from the moment the two met. He has discovered Sir Gawain's deception, and Gawain returns to King Arthur with a new sense of humility.

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