Thomas Hahn, author of the scholarly article, “Gawain and popular chivalric romance in
Britain”, views Gawain precisely how he is presented in many medieval stories—as the
“chevalier exemplaire, the paragon against which manhood is measured”.
authors used Gawain in their works to play the role of the protagonist.
During the medieval
period, Gawain was widely known as a powerful symbol of chivalry and the greatness of King
But, does Gawain live up to his reputation as a chivalrous knight in the poem
‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’?
In his article, Hahn depicts Gawain as a courageous and “chivalric hero”.
I agree with
Hahn’s assertion because in Fitt 1 of ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’, Gawain stated, “‘Think
of your bold knights, bursting to fight, as ready and willing as men can be: defer to their needs.
And I am the slightest, the dullest of them all; my life the least, my death no loss - My only
worth is you, my royal Uncle, all my virtue is through you.
And this foolish business fits my
station, not yours: let me play this green man's game.
If I ask too boldly, may this court declare
me at fault?’”
This statement by Gawain is full of chivalric ideals.
By offering to take the place
of his superior, King Arthur, and by taking on a dangerous task, Gawain is performing a
Gawain persisted in showing his chivalric ideals and courage when he overcame
numerous obstacles in his journey to find the Green Chapel.
Along the way, Gawain was often
alone and saw no one but his horse until he reached northern Wales.
When he arrived in Wirral
Forest, where few good men lived, he could not find anyone who knew of the Green Knight or
the Green Chapel.
From then on he constantly met enemies in the form of dragons, wolves,
satyrs, forest trolls, bulls, bears, boars, and giant ogres.
This proves Hahn’s point that Gawain
“established his preeminence as the Arthurian knight most dedicated to masculine adventure and