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Beowulf Question Essay

8) Does the Green Knight play by the rules of courtesy? Is he ultimately a negative or a positive figure? The Green Knight plays by the rules of courtesy. The Green Knight keeps to his word and is loyal, which is a big aspect to keeping with the rules of courtesy. He shows this when he first explains the game to Sir Gawain. The Green Knight game allows Gawain to take the first swing at him, “Now hold your grim tool steady And show us how it hacks.” (ln.412-413). He makes sure that Sir Gawain understands the rules and that he will stick to the game, as the Green Knight will too. This is shown when he repeats the part of the game where Sir Gawain must find the Green Knight after a year, “Sir Gawain, forget not to go as agreed, And cease not to seek till me, sir, you find” (ln. 447-448)The Green Knight is kind when approaching King Arthur and the knights about the game he wants to play, which is also playing by the rules of courtesy, but “Where is,” he said,

“The captain of this crowd?” Keenly I wish
To see that sire with sight and to himself say my say.(ln.224-226) The Green Knight is ultimately a positive figure because although his game is not very courteous, he does play by the rules of courtesy in such ways as remaining loyal, truthful, and kind. 2) What is the symbolism of the three beast hunted by Bertilak? The symbolism within the three beasts hunted by Bertilak is that the manner of the animal was the manner of the lady of the house on that given day. The first day a deer was being hunted. On this day, the lady of the house was acting like a deer in ways that she did not go straight to her point, but instead darted around the subject, much like a deer would do in the woods. “Not, not so, sweet sir,” said the smiling lady,

“You shall not rise from your bed; I direct you better:
I shall hem and hol you on either hand,” (ln. 1223-1225)

The lady approaches Sir Gawain on the first day very nice and gentle, but avoids going straight to the point. Second day a boar was being hunted. The lady of the house was very straight forward and rough on this day, just like a boar would act in its habitat. “You are stout enough to constrain with strength, if you choose, Were any so ungracious as to grudge you aught,” (ln.1496-1497) which shows how she is being more straight forward with her attraction and want for Sir Gawain. On the last day, a fox was being hunted. Foxes are clever, sneaky, and intelligent, and that is how the lady of the house acted on the last day.

“Those words,” said the woman, “are the worst of all,
But I have had my answer, and hard do I find it!
Kiss me now kindly” (ln. 1792-1793)
This is showing how she is being sneaky with her point, trying to guilt him into kissing her. Which is what a fox would do, be clever and sneaky.

3) What is the relationship between the scenery and Sir Gawain’s mental state? The relationship between the scenery and Sir Gawain’s mental state is that the scenery tends to represent what is happening in Sir Gawain’s mind. When Sir Gawain was feeling relaxed and calm, the scenery was “bliss and hearth-fire”(ln. 1368). Therefore the bliss scenery was representing his calmness. When Sir Gawain was on his way to meet the Green Knight, he had a negative mental state which is represented by the scenery as stated, “a ragged rock and a roughhewn-craig”(ln.2166).This connection between the scenery and Sir Gawain’s mental state is again showed when stated, “with coarse grass inclumps all without and all hollow within’’(ln.2181), which shows his negative mental state again.


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