Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Appearances Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Queen Guenevere [sat] gaily dressed and placed in the middle,Seated on the upper level, adorned all about;Fine silk surrounding her, a canopy overheadOf costly French fabric, silk carpets underfootThat were embroidered and studded with the finest gemsThat money could buy at the highest price anywhere.The loveliest to seeGlanced round with eyes blue-grey;That he had had seen a fairer oneTruly could no man say. (74 - 84)
The richness of Arthur’s court and the beauty of his queen both attest to his power and influence. In this passage, Guenevere plays the role of Arthur’s possession just as much as the gems and fine silk carpets and canopies that surround her.
. . . . . There bursts in at the hall door a terrible figure,In his stature the very tallest on earth.From the waist to the neck so thick-set and square,And his loins and his limbs so massive and long,In truth half a giant I believe he was,But anyway of all men I judge him to be the largest,And the most attractive of his size who could sit on a horse.For while in back and chest his body was forbidding,Both his belly and waist were becomingly trim,And every part of his body equally elegant in shape. His hue astounded them, Set in his looks so keen; For boldly he rode in, Completely emerald green.(136 - 150)
The Green Knight is both monstrous and beautiful: his great size makes him something of a giant, creatures which had fearsome reputations in medieval romances. Besides that, he’s completely green! But on the other hand, his body is elegant, and he appears to be in great shape if his large chest and back paired with a trim waist are any indication.
And all arrayed in green that man and his clothes:A straight close-fitting coat that clung to his body,A pleasant mantle over that, adorned withinWith plain trimmed fur, the facing made brightWith gay shining ermine, and his hood of the sameThrown back from his hair and laid over his shoulders.Neat tightly-drawn stockings coloured to matchClinging to his calf, and shining spurs belowOf bright gold, over embroidered and richly striped silk.(151 - 159)
The Green Knight’s clothing indicates that he is very wealthy: fur, particularly ermine, was a very expensive material and embroidered, striped silk would have been costly and time-consuming to make. The lines following these go on to detail the embroidery, bead and metalwork of the Knight’s tack and saddle, all of which indicate a similar degree of wealth and time investment.