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"Lanval"/Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by: Megan Snyder

"Lanval"/Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ENGL 301

Marketplace > Old Dominion University > Foreign Language > ENGL 301 > Lanval Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Megan Snyder
GPA 4.0
Intro to British Literature I
Dr. Edward Jacobs

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About this Document

These are the notes for Week 2 of Dr. Jacobs' British Literature I course during which we discussed "Lanval" and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Included, as always, are the quiz questions and ans...
Intro to British Literature I
Dr. Edward Jacobs
Class Notes
lanval, sir gawain, arthurian tale, sir gawain and the green knight
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Megan Snyder on Monday September 14, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 301 at Old Dominion University taught by Dr. Edward Jacobs in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 51 views. For similar materials see Intro to British Literature I in Foreign Language at Old Dominion University.

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Date Created: 09/14/15
British Literature quotLa nval Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Notes 9193 15 Quiz Q Of what crime is Lanval accused A Treason he insults Queen Guinevere Q What conditions does Lanval s lover set on their relationship A Lanval cannot speak of their love Q How does Lanval s lover clear him of the criminal charge A She arrives on horseback confirming her existence and beauty History Arthurian tale a series of ancient stories based on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table 0 Some of the oldest narratives orally passed down from generation to generation of Anglo Saxon origins o Rhapsody to sew together with each telling the story grows richer and more diverse Land based feudalism warrants the quotpurchasingquot of loyalties with land at this time 0 William of Normandy France takes of England along with its language laws military etc 0 Language eventually morphs into Middle English 0 The French custom of chivalry effectively replaces the warrior code exemplified in such works as Beowulf Knightlythane services now directed toward women One must conduct himself as a nobleman might so as to assert his social ranking 0 English viewed as barbaric whereas the French were considered effeminate Queen Guinevere accuses Lanval a Norman living in England of being a homosexual when he rejects her offer Marie de France adapts the AngloSaxon tale as a means of 1 extending the olive branch and 2 appropriating the culture of her English counterparts o Describes King Arthur as quotvaliant and courteous 6 an AngloSaxon and a Norman quality respectively 0 quotThe Scots and Pictswho were ravaging the country 78 serve as a shared enemy fostering a sense of unity among the English and the French Lanval Plight of the Foreigner Example of the tragic life of an immigrant o This is dramatized because the Normans clearly conquered the AngloSaxons o quotFor his valor his generosityhis beauty his prowessmost people envied him 2123 but King Arthur refuses to recognize him for his warrior and noble traits Gawain a minor subhero and friend to Lanval o Invites Lanval to go hunting when he is down pays his bail 0 quotThey go back to his lodgingand persuade Lanval to accompany them 256 British Literature quotLa nval Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Notes 9193 15 0 quotGawain goes to act as a guarantor for Lanvaland all his companions after him 400401 King Arthur warns them that he is capable of seizing all of their land 0 quotThey went to sit in judgmentvery anxious and dismayedover the noble man from another countrywho was in such trouble among them 427430 The knights identify with Lanval Lanval s Lover Represents outcasts idealized Norman culture softer power the opposite of King Arthur 0 quotI command and beg of you 144 0 quotArthur sent for all his mento say rightly what he must doso that no one would speak ill of it 382384 A woman of tremendous influence effortlessly ends the trial Interestingly de France of French descent writes a story that depicts the Normans as merciful and forgiving though they invaded and conquered England Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Quiz Q What contract does Gawain make with King Bercilak A Everything the kind finds on his hunt he will give to Gawain and everything Gawain finds during his day at the castle he will give to Bercilak Q How does Gawain violate it A He keeps the queen s green girdle Q What is the physical effect on Gawain of the Green Knight s axe blow A Just a flesh wound it does not behead him as we would expect The Rhapsodization of Norman and AngloSaxon Culture Gawain both celebrates and questions aspects of the Norman and AngloSaxonCeltic ways of life 0 Chivalry v heroism Alliteration serves as a pneumonic device that helps the memory in the preliterary period King Arthur At Arthur s holiday dinner on p162 the quotFrenchificationquot of his castle is evident in quotquotequot 0 Secularity ofthe Christmas holiday also noted Arthur described as brutish and boyish o Starkly contrasts the Green Knight just wants to hear a funny story British Literature quotLa nval Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Notes 9193 15 The Green Knight Demigodlike qualities of the Green Knight Size and disposition Strength no armor Hairy healthy Green alive earthy one with nature Magical not savage Also carries a holly branch a symbol of peace Wields an axe not a sword o Axe is a tool of many uses including killing whereas a sword is a weapon only used for killing 0 Normans seized the AngloSaxons swords as a means of militarily disenfranchising them Green Knight represents paganism Gawain Gawain represents what is left of chivalry in Arthur s court 0 The only one of his knights to accept the Green Knight s challenge 0 The ultimate test of Gawain s warrior status he fails 0 Gawain endures a harsh winter storm and strenuous trek to Bercilak s castle but can t withstand the queen s seduction capture and bondage p 191192 0 Details of the Green Knight s hunt are gory and hypermasculine Meanwhile Gawain stays at home with the queen and her maidens 0 In accepting the green girdle Gawain shows a lack of faith in God to save him from the Green Knight s blow 0 Ultimately Gawain s failure provides Arthur s otherwise boastful court with some humility brings the two sides together


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