* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

by Anonymous

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Man and the Natural World

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the greenness of the Green Knight, along with the wildness of his dwelling place, probably represents his connection to the natural world. The wilderness through...

Principles

Sir Gawain adheres to a strict code of knightly behavior whereby he always keeps his promises, honors and obeys his liege lord, and engages in feats of arms to demonstrate his bravery and skill. Ye...

Rules and Order

The plot of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight revolves around two games Gawain agrees to play, both with very similar rules. The first game involves an exchange of blows from an axe, while the second...

Appearances

As we might expect in a poem that features the color of one of its characters as part of its title, appearance really does matter in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Knight’s greenness, for e...

Respect and Reputation

The Green Knight comes to Arthur’s court, he claims, because he’s heard of the reputation for bravery of its men, the Knights of the Round Table. He uses the threat of damage to this reputation...

Tradition and Customs

The world of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one in which every aspect of life is bound up with rules and customs. The rituals of celebration and hunting are no exception. The narrator’s focu...

Time

The structure of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is completely governed by time. The story begins on New Year’s Eve, during the Christmas feast at King Arthur’s Court. Gawain must meet the Gree...

Awe and Amazement

The opening passages of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight frame the tale as a "marvellous event," a "prodigious happening among tales about Arthur" (28, 29). As we read the poem, we begin to underst...

The Supernatural

When the Green Knight appears in King Arthur’s court, the people there think he may be some sort of magical creature. How else to explain the fact that he’s entirely green? When he picks up his...

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement