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British Literature I: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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Kisha Tracy

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of British Literature I: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Illustrator: Walter Lorraine
Fitt 3
Three Days, Three Hunts

“God moroun, Sir Gawayn,” sayde that gay lady,
“Ye ar a sleper unslyghe, that mon may slyde hider;
Now ar ye tan as-tyt! Bot true uus may schape,
I schal bynde yow in your bedde, that be ye trayst.”
(3.1208-11)

“Good morning, sir Gawain,” said that fair lady,
“You are an unwary sleeper, that one can steal in here:
Now you are caught in a moment! Unless we agree on a truce,
I shall imprison you in your bed, be certain of that.”
Temptation of Sir Gawain
Cotton Nero A.x, f. 129
At the fyrst quethe of the quest quaked the wylde.
Der drof in the dale, doted for drede… (3.1150-1)

At the first sound of the hunt the wild creatures trembled;
Deer fled from the valley, frantic with fear…
Gaston Phoebus: "Le Livre de la Chasse"  
14th Century, Morgan Library
and Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Deer
Film Adaptations
The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Strange!
Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
1984
Starring: Miles O’Keeffe, Sean Connery, Trevor Howard








Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (animated): Required Viewing
2002
Starring: James D’Arcy, Anton Lesser

Beheading of the Green Knight
Cotton Nero A.x, f. 94
Does Gawain commit a sin?
What is his sin?
What is the court’s reaction?
Bot yet the styffest to start bi stoundez he made,
Til at thelast he watz so mat he myght no more renne
(3.1567-8)

But yet he made the bravest of them flinch at times,
Until at last he was so tired that he could run no more
Gaston Phoebus: "Le Livre de la Chasse"  
14th Century, Morgan Library
and Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Boar
Deer
Gaston Phoebus: "Le Livre de la Chasse"  
14th Century, Morgan Library
and Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Preparations for the Hunt
15th Century, French, Book of the Hunt
King Arthur Hunting
14th Century, British Library
Boar
Gaston Phoebus: "Le Livre de la Chasse"  
14th Century, Morgan Library
and Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Went haf wylt of the wode with wylez fro the houndes;
Thenne watz he went, er he wyst, to a wale tryster…
(3.1711-12)

Thinking to escape from the wood and the hounds by his wiles.
Then he came, before he knew it, to a well-placed station…
Fox
Deer
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Late 14th Century
Middle English Alliterative Romance
Author: Gawain OR Pearl-Poet (Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience)
Manuscript: Cotton Nero A.x.
Dialect: North West Midlands
Influences: Celtic, Welsh, Folklore
Form: Alliterative, Caesura, Bob and Wheel
Editions:

siþen þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at troye…
Listen to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the original Middle English:
http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/noa/audio.htm (scroll down to find it)
Questions/Ideas to Consider: Fitts 1 and 2
1) Think carefully about the representation of the court. Are there any problems? Do they behave like mature knights?
2) Think carefully about the character of Gawain. He claims to be a worthless knight. Is this true? Is this a claim, for example, Beowulf would make?
3) Who is the Green Knight? How is he dressed? How do we know he is a supernatural being? What clues do we have? (Click to next frame)
4) This story is set at the beginning of Arthur's reign, so he is relatively young, as is his court. Is he a good king?
5) Gawain is gifted a shield with an emblem on it by the court. What is this emblem? What does it symbolize? He himself then puts an image on the inside of his shield. What is the image? Why does he put it there?
Questions/Ideas to Consider
Song: Andrew Nalewski, Project Day, Fall 2013
Full transcript