Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Study Guide

a knight on horseback
What is the New Year’s feast interrupted by?

gigantic and green from head to toe
Describe the knight.

a bough of holly and an ax
What does the knight carry?

It is a magic color
What does the text say about the color green?

that one of the knights deal him a blow with the ax and that he will return the favor, dealing the knight an equal blow, in a year and a day
What does the knight suggest?

he is the least brave and least intelligent of the company and that the only worthy thing about him is that he is of Arthur’s blood
What does Gawain say about himself?

out of extreme modesty
How does Gawain make his speech?

he did not falter or fall; rather he sprang up, grabbed his head and held it up for all to see; then he climbed back on his horse, still holding the head up
What did the knight do when Gawain chopped his head off?

find the knight in a year and a day at the Green Chapel and submit to a blow like that received by the Green Knight
What must Gawain do?

he would be killed
What would happen to Gawain if he went through with the deal?

He did not give the lord the green scarf despite the promise that he made to the lord to exchange whatever the two had gained during each day
What happened regarding Gawain and the green scarf?

his covetousness
What does Gawain keep the scarf as a symbol of?

Morgan le Fay sent the Green Knight to test the Knights of the Round Table to see if their reputation for chivalry was deserved and to try to kill Guenevere from fright
Who sent the green knight and why?

he claims he seeks no contest and calls the knights “beardless children”
What does the Green Knight claim regarding the Knights of the Round Table?

if the agreement is not kept, Gawain shall be known all over the world as a coward
What does the Green Knight warn Gawain of?

the knight’s moral code values courage and despises covetousness
What do Gawain’s actions reveal?

so he will behave more virtuously in the future
Why does Gawain want to remember his meeting with the Knight?

the knight is green, he continues to live although his head is cut off, and the lord Gawain encounters is really the knight
What are the magical and supernatural elements in the story?

they add to the romance and to the challenge
What do these magical elements add to the story?

he had lived up to most of his ideals and he seemed to have learned from his mistake
Why does Gawain judge himself harshly?

Were others willing to forgive him?

bravery and courage
What does the Green Knight demonstrate in his challenge?

courtesy and gentleness
What does the Green Knight demonstrate toward Gawain?

he fails to tell Gawain who he really is
How does the Green Knight not uphold the virtue of faith and honesty?

a belt worn over the shoulder and chest to support a sword