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Poem, Sir Gawain, Green Knight, King Arthur


Classical Literature and Philology | European History | Literature in English, British Isles | Translation Studies


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a quest story that consists of a game. The game effectively creates the story by giving the events of the text a premise. Often, the game is looked at through lenses which emphasize its moral implications and how the game is a challenge of Sir Gawain's moral fortitude, and while the game is indeed a challenge with moral implications, it is also simply a game. The poem itself is a game as well, which means that the text is a game and is about a game. By looking at how the idea of a "game" functions in the text, we notice that there are many different games and different layers to those games played in the poem. The greatest game is that which the Green Knight presents at Arthur's Christmas dinner. This game leads to game-within-a-game that occurs at Bertilak's castle. The game at Bertilak's castle in turn reveals how the players play with each other and are played by each other. When we reach the end of the poem and look back on all of the game playing that has taken place, it becomes clear that the relationship between the poet and the reader in this text is itself a game.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


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