The city versus wilderness conflict/ sir Gawain and the green knight
City and Wilderness
The poem, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, has been translated by W. A. Neilson. It is a poem that is based on a conflict that exists due to values of the law and morality as well. The world has become a fallen place thus the people that are in the world are challenged with the aim of promoting spirituality to them (Gawain-Poet, Tolkien and Tolkien 24). The essay, therefore, seeks to identify some of the symbols that have been used in this poem to bring out a better understanding of the poem.
The wilderness conflict is that between the people that are living in the world and the spiritual beings. The worldly beings do not have values, and they are not moral as well. The world has become a fallen place despite the fact that the people tend to believe that they are living perfect lives. In the Court, people have been ranked according to how they behave. However, they do not have certain spiritual virtues. The wilderness represents people that value morality, and they believe that the laws should be followed under all circumstances (Gawain-Poet, Tolkien and Tolkien 36). They, therefore, decide to challenge the people that are in the fallen world to show them how to follow the laws.
The interior characteristics of the city are that the people are very proud and hypocritical as well. That is because the people tend to rank themselves to show how righteous they are. However, they do not get to bring out their true colors thus they only bring out the image of their righteousness.
The exterior characteristic of the city is that it does not bow to challenges. That is why Gawain decides that he has to win no matter what. That is why he decided to be dishonest to the host to ensure that he gets to win.
The interior characteristic of the wilderness is that it mentally challenges the court to make the people in the city realize some of the mistakes that they have. In the wilderness, laws are followed, and people are very moral. Therefore, the wilderness tries to show the city of the weakness that it has regarding morality and values (Gawain-Poet, Tolkien and Tolkien 31). That is done by testing the values that Gawain has, and that helps in showing that he is dishonest despite the fact that he is considered to be a hero in the city.
The exterior characteristic of the wilderness is that it questions the customs and the laws that are used in the city. That is because the people that are in the city are not moral yet they question the morality of other people. The wilderness challenges these laws to get to show the city of the right ways through which it should survive. It also does this with the aim of showing the city that values should always be followed no matter the situation.
The city’s locale is the Court of Arthur. The locale is identified by the characteristics since it is where the people get to judge each other. It is in the court that people get to rank themselves and also show others that they are righteous. In the court, Gawain is seen to be very righteous, and he is also seen to be a hero by the people. That is because the court brings him out to be a very righteous person. Gawain and Arthur are the City’s agents. They are characters that bring out the values of the city. For example, Gawain is seen to be a dishonest person. He embraces dishonesty since he believes that he has to do whatever it takes for him to win. Arthur, on the other hand, believes that he is very righteous. He mocks the Green Knight after he challenges the city. That happens because Arthur believes that appearances and words are more important compared to values.
Bercilak’s Castle and The Green Chapel are the wilderness’ locale. The locale is identified through some characteristics. In the castle, some virtues are observed. The people are honest, and they also value friendship. They are generous, and that is shown by the way Gawain is received in the castle and the fact that he is also given a place to stay. The agents of the wilderness are the Green Knight and the Lady (Gawain-Poet, Tolkien and Tolkien 46). The lady tempts Gawain to get to determine whether he is honest or not. The lady is also generous since she gives Gawain her green girdle so that it can protect him. The Green Knight is very generous to Gawain, and he gives him a place to stay. The Knight is very honest since he delivers the deal that he had with Gawain, and he brings to him all that he manages to hunt. That is why he expects Gawain to be honest to him as well. However, Gawain is not completely honest to the Knight, and that helps in proving the fact that the city does not value morals.Work Cited
Gawain-Poet, The, J.R.R Tolkien, and Christopher Tolkien. Sir Gawain And The Green Knight,. London: Allen & Unwin, 1975. Print.