Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Passage Explication (928 -1207)Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written in the fourteenth century by an anonymous contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. It is a tale of bravery, adventure, and coming of age. This is the ballad of Sir Gawain, one of King Arthur’s knights, who is challenged to seek the green knight whose head he chopped off during the Arthur’s Christmas dinner. The Modern English translation by Marie Boroff (1967) makes the poem easier to read and understand. The passage that is explicated is between lines 298 and 1207 in the Modern English translation. In the passage, Gawain, after feasting with the host, finally gets to meet the lady of the Bercilak. He is also introduced to Morgan le Faye, Arthur’s evil half-sister, who is disguised as an older woman. Sir Bercilak, the host of the castle tells Gawain that he knows the location of the green chapel, and has Gawain play a game with. All throughout the passage different clues are given that the aforementioned castle has unusual abnormalities, but Gawain choses not to ponder about their significance. If Gawain thought about unusual things that were happening in the castle, he could have avoided his future ebarrasment and cut on the neck.
In the beginning of the passsage Gawain finally gets to meet the lady of Bercilak, in the chapel on Christmas day. The entrance of the lady is very ceremonial; she is led in by an older, less attractive woman, Morgan le Faye, who Gawain failks to recognize. The text describes the clothes that the lady wears and contasts her beauty with the ugliness of her companion.
But unlike to look upon, those ladies were, for if the one was fresh, the other was faded: bedecked in bright red was the body of one; flesh hung in folds on the face of the other; on one a high headdress, hung all in pearls; her bright throat and bosom fair to behold, fresh as the first snow fallen upon hills; a wimple the other one wore rounded her throat; her swart chin well swaddled swathed all in white; her forehead enfolded in flounces of silk that fraimed a fair fillet, of fashion ornate, and nothing bare beneath save the black brows, the two eyes and the nose, the naked lips, and they unsightly to see, and sorrily bleared. A beldame, by God, she may well be deemed of pride! (Norton 178)