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Significance of the Hunting and Temptation Scenes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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The author offers even a more elaborate description of the slaughter and butchering of the meat, to emphasize its metaphorical significance; butchering of the deer symbolizes the fate that awaits Gawain at his encounter of the Green Knight. Inside the castle, the Lady first tempts Gawain, by entering his room and lying flat with fine adroitness and feigns sleep (Armitage 59); just like the shy deer in the first hunt, Gawain evades confrontation with the Lady. The correlation with the deer hunt is implied clearly, that Gawain is avoiding the lady and her seductions since he does not want to risk offending her; as a chivalrous knight that he is, Gawain is conscious of the fact that he must protect his honor (Brewer 6).

Giving in to the temptation of getting seduced by Bercilak’ s wife would not only be an insult on the Lord of the castle but also on the chivalrous knighthood code; consequently, Gawain remains as coy as the deer and opts to feign sleep rather than to face the Lady. In this scene, the relation between temptation and wooing is evident as just like the Lord pursues the hunted animals, so is Gawain by the Lady of the castle (Burnley 4).

The second hunt is a wild boar, a fierce animal that is extremely difficult to catch and kill; the fierceness of the wild boar symbolizes Gawain’ s reactions to the incessant advances from Bercilak’ s wife. Gawain is steadfast in his resistance of the temptation of Bercilak’ s wife, just like the wild boar is resistant to Bercilak’ s hunt and capture, particularly because he must stay true to his reputation as a chivalrous and worthy knight.

Unlike the deer, the boar is not an easy kill as it faces it assailants and fiercely fights back by tearing the dogs that attack it thereby hurting them in the process (Armitage 58). Just like the boar, Gawain faces the lady and instead of feigning sleep, he gives her a gracious welcome; the lady’ s attempt to taunt Gawain by questioning his chivalrous manners is met with gentility at first but after a little pushing, Gawain snaps and bites back.

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preview essay on Significance of the Hunting and Temptation Scenes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Pages: 5 (1250 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: English
  • Level: Undergraduate
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