Essay Sir Gawain

816 Words Feb 15th, 2011 4 Pages
One Tragic Defeat The poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, illustrates the perfection of a knight throughout his life. Sir Gawain the perfect knight goes on a Christmas game quest provided by the Green Knight which tempts his purity and eventually ruins the ideal knight he used to be. In the criticism, “A Psychological Interpretation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, the critic Stephen Manning argues that the poem centers on Gawain’s feeling of guilt. On the other hand, P. J. C. Field a critic who wrote, “ A Rereading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, argues that Gawain’s sin in accepting the lady’s girdle is minimal. The remainder of the criticism portrays the comparison between the two critics mentioned. The feeling of …show more content…
If one commits mortal sin, she or he must visit a priest for penance; but if one commits a venial sin, she or he must ask for forgiveness through prayer. Altogether when anyone asks for forgiveness he or she is forgiven and remains pure. Thus, Gawain only commits a venial sin but, “venial sin is evil: absolutely, for a man who wants perfection; for a man who is near perfection; and for a man who is possibly...habitually free even from venial sin” (Field 260). Manning argues that to Gawain, a venial sin is evil because he has never committed a sin in his flawless life as a knight. Manning also acknowledges that Gawain takes his first sin solemnly and holds it against himself. He eventually notices that all the pain and suffering he has been through had a reason. Consequently, Gawain returns with a green belt to, “the court to which [he] returns must be taken as giving the judgement of humanity” (261). Manning implies that through Gawain, everyone in the court shall learn from his mistake and should be prepared and knowledgeable in the future. Through the suffering of a noble and perfect knight, everyone benefits from their courteous peer. Entirely, the acceptance of the lady’s girdle was a venial sin or minimal sin because he did it for the sake of keeping his life. The acceptance of the lady’s girdle led to the guilt of Sir Gawain and the judgement of others. “But accepting the girdle is not a sin in the theological

Related Documents