Literature Study GuidesSir Gawain And The Green KnightFytte The Third Stanzas 17 19 Summary

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | Study Guide

Pearl Poet

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | Fytte the Third, Stanzas 17–19 | Summary

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Summary

Fytte the Third, Stanza 17

While Gawain enjoys himself with the ladies of the castle, Bertilak continues to chase the boar on his hunt. The boar runs until he's too tired to continue. He stops in a hole, but the hunters are too afraid to approach him.

Fytte the Third, Stanza 18

Bertilak alone rides through the stream to capture the boar. The animal charges him, and Bertilak and the boar fight in the water. Eventually, Bertilak subdues the boar, then killed by the hounds.

Fytte the Third, Stanza 19

The hunters celebrate their capture. A hunter who's skilled at carving extracts meat from the boar and chops off his head. The hunters return to the castle and greet Gawain.

Analysis

Bertilak, like Gawain, is meeting his match and may be bested. The hunt is hard on the boar, too, but the animal doesn't give up. The boar is called a "savage and crazed beast" in a comparison to wild, untamed nature (like the Green Knight), which can hurt civilized people. Even though the boar is old and alone and Bertilak has a hundred hunters and hounds, the boar gives him a run for his money.

The hunting scene in Fytte the Third, Stanza 18 shows Bertilak's determination and stubbornness—and perhaps his foolishness—many of his men have abandoned him and fear for his life by this point. Like Gawain, Bertilak is on a quest that might kill him, determined to prove his own worth. He wins for now.

The second scene of carving game in Fytte the Third, Stanza 19 is as intricate, gory, and bloody as the first. The boar's head is set high in ceremony, and Bertilak carries the head all the way home—demonstrating that despite the boar's struggles and fight, he still lost.

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