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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Games

Essay by   •  October 21, 2012  •  Essay  •  660 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,579 Views

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People throughout the world find interest in games, whether as spectators or participants. From ancient Mah Jongg to modern electronics, games have been in existence for centuries, serving as an enjoyable way to occcy free time. Like many games, there are significant challenges between competitors. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a series of games helps to engage the reader in plot of the story through the addition of conflict, intrigue, and humor.

The first game introduced in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight occurs when the Green Knight comes to King Arthur's court and asks to participate in game. This game involves someone hitting him with his ax; he then gets to return the blow in one year and one day. Gawain offers to accept the challenge that the Green Knight gives to King Arthur. The knight then makes Gawain recite the terms of the game. Gawain uses the ax to behead the Green Knight, who does not die, but rather picks up his head, recites the terms of the game, and rides away. After 366 days have passed, the Green Knight meets at the Green Chapel and tries to strike his head three times, and on the third swing finally scratches his neck. This game adds a great deal of suspense to the plot of the story, as the reader constantly wonders about the reoccurance of the action, as well as the result after the time has passed.

The second game begins when the host tells Gawain that he will remain at his castle and rest in bed and spend time with the two ladies, while the lord of the castle will go hunting for three days with his men, and that each day they will exchange the winnings. While searching for the Green Chapel, Gawain prays, finding a beautiful castle on Christmas eve. The lord of the castle welcomes Gawain, feeding him and introducing him to two women. One of the women is a lovely wife, while the other is an old hag. The host tells Gawain that the chapel is near, and that he can remain at his castle until New Year's Day. Gawain is pleased to play along with this game, adding both humor and irony to the plot of the story.

The third game is between Gawain and the wife of the 'castle', where she attempts to sleep with him, and he resists her seduction, only taking kisses each day and a green gertle. On the first day, the host's wife climbs into Gawain's bed. He resists her advances, only allowing one kiss. That evening after the lord returns with a feast of venison; the host receives a kiss from Gawain. The second day begins with the wife entering Gawain's bed, rejecting advances, but receiving two kisses, which he later returns, after the feast of boar killed by the host. On the third day, upon the host's return from fox hunting, Gawain gives him three kisses, yet he does not give him the green gertle that he received from the Lord's wife (in addition to the three kisses), as it is supposed to protect him from death. This game creates a significant amount

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