Gawain and the Green Knight

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Gawain and the Green Knight

  1. How is the appearance of Gawain and the appearance of the Green Knight important to the story? What does each look like? What is the significance of the way they dress/look?

  1. What is important about Arthur’s role in the Beheading Game?

  1. Compare Camelot with the second castle. How are the celebrations similar and different? How are the people Similar and different?

  1. How is the Season important?

  1. What is Gawain’s journey to seek the Green Chapel like? Is it eventful? Why are we told so little about it?

  1. What "magic" do both the Green Knight and Gawain possess? How can you find magic or supernatural power in the stories of each one?

  1. Why is there a mention of Troy at the start of the poem? What does this refer to? Why?

  1. What is the problem with Arthur accepting the Green Knights Challenge?

  1. Characterize Arthur, Guinevere, Gawain, and the Green Knight. How do they differ from expectations or evidence in other poems?

  1. What is Anglo-Saxon-like about this text?

  1. Discuss the Pentangle what is its importance?

  1. Discuss the actions of and expectations about Gawain in the Northern Castle (Sir Bercilak’s).

  1. Given that Courtly love involved the use of courteous speech to establish a formalized love relationship between the knight and his lady.

  1. How does Gawain uphold or fall short of the conventions for Courtly love?

  1. Note two or three exchanges of dialog between Lady de Hautdesert and Gawain. Where do you see in them the conventions of courtly love upheld or shattered?

  1. Why does Gawain behave toward the lady as he does? Is his behavior defensible? How?

  1. Given that Chivalry involves not only skill in warfare but courtly skills such as, courtesy, generosity, and piousness, show how Gawain’s behavior throughout the poem is or is not chivalric.

  1. How does chivalry act to protect Gawain from the lady’s temptations?

  1. What is the Round Table’s reaction to Gawain’s lapse of chivalry? What comment does that make about Gawain or the Round Table?

  1. Look at the three hunting scenes in the poem. How do the hunted animals on each day in some way mirror Gawain’s actions back at the castle de Hautdesert?

  1. How is hunting an appropriate metaphor for what happens back at the castle each day?

  1. The first two days Gawain goes to Mass after his encounter with Lady de Hautdesert; on the final day he goes to confession. What do you make of that?

There are a number of symbols which seem fitting within the story.

  1. How is the greenness of the Green Knight an appropriate color?

  1. How is the pentangle an appropriate symbol for Gawain to carry.

  1. What do you make of the image of Mary Painted on Gawain’s shield? What is its significance?

Many of the Elements of Old English Poetry remain or resurface in Gawain.

  1. How is the poem structurally like an Old English Poem?

  1. Discuss the similarities of the chivalric code and the comitatus bond between liege and warrior as shown in the poem?

  1. What occurrences seem particularly Old English/Norse/Germanic within the poem?

  1. How might the story be different if Gawain were Beowulf? How would the stories meaning and impact change?

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