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ENGL 241 - Week 6 Notes: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by: G.Velgach

ENGL 241 - Week 6 Notes: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ENGL 241

Marketplace > University of Illinois at Chicago > Foreign Language > ENGL 241 > ENGL 241 Week 6 Notes Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
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About this Document

These notes cover the the background, basis, and story of the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight."
Survey of English Literature: Beginnings to 1660
Alfred Thomas
Class Notes
English literature, medieval literature, arthurian romances, sir gawain and the green knight
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This 1 page Class Notes was uploaded by G.Velgach on Sunday February 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 241 at University of Illinois at Chicago taught by Alfred Thomas in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 25 views. For similar materials see Survey of English Literature: Beginnings to 1660 in Foreign Language at University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Date Created: 02/21/16
Week 6 Notes: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight TOPICS LECTURE NOTES TOPICS READING NOTES Background Richard II Overall  Late 14th century Language,style&form  r. 1377-1399 Main Points  Probably written by "Gawain Poet" or "Pearl Themes  young king of England Poet"  content with his French roots; dedicated  Middle English verse narrative found in codex more energy to culture than to waging war on (Cotton Nero A.x.) with 3 other stories France like his father and predecessors  Synthesis of English and French traditions of  believed in his rightful place as monarch, Arthurian romances whereas the monarchy was relatively  English: language, style, form unstable and prone to changing  French: chivalric romance (Gawain,  SGGK may have been dedicated to one of knight, is more important than King his Cheshire retainers (Sir John Stanley) or Arthur; quests to prove himself) about his favorite knight (Robert de Vere) New Years Day Feast  Written in a sophisticated style but a  Green Knight rides and invites worthy knight provincial common tongue to a game: the challenger attempts one blow  Chester sub-dialect indicates of author's to be repaid after a year desire to appeal to King Richard II, who  Sir Gawain challenges GK, beheads him but frequented Chester, Cheshire GK picks up his head; Gawain expected to  Written in "bob and wheel": a very short line journey to the Green Chapel (bob) followed by longer lines with internal Bertilak's castle** rhyme (wheel)  Gawain stops at Lord Bertilak's castle to rest  Common Middle English metrical form  Gay lady: Lady Bertilak, beautiful wife; visits  Dichotomy between women: seemingly Gawain 3 times at night to try and seduce seductresses/secretly faithful vs. seemingly him; he refuses to sleep with her but takes harmless/actually devious tokens and kisses her so as not to offend her  Loathsome lady: hideous counterpart to Lady  Test of manhood (influenced by French and Irish stories) Bertilak; sweet at dinner; later turns out to be  "Bricriu's Feast" (Celtic): ogre's challenge= Morgana le Fay plotting against Arthur's court Journey to the Green Chapel test of heroism  Life of Caradoc (French): challenge of the  Gawain treks through the forest to the Chapel beheading game=initiation ceremony  Leitmotif: the color green as nature, wild; Sir Gawain possibly a threat to Arthur's court dynamic Confrontation with the Green Knight  pure, strong, good-looking man, a favorite of Arthur's  GK swings at Gawain's head 3 times, stops  carries Virgin Mary's image on his shield, she short twice, nicks his neck the third  GK reveals himself to be Lord Bertilak and is his guide  possibly an analogy to Richard II (King the challenge to be a test of Gawain's honor; Arthur) and Robert de Vere (Sir Gawain) Lady Bertilak's seduction turns out to be a ruse as part of the test MAIN IDEAS SGGK: one of the most enduring texts of both Arthurian legends and  Gawain is ashamed and returns home; retells English literature; heavily influenced by Richard II's reign the story sarcastically


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