Sir Gawain & the Green Knight Study Guide 1. During which holiday season does the story take place? 2. Characterize the Green Knight. Use specific details. What is important about what he is carrying? 3. What “game” does the Green Knight offer? 4. How do Arthur and his knights react to the entrance of the Green Knight and to his challenge? 5. The Green Knight spends time both flattering and denigrating the knights. What is the purpose of doing both? 6. Gawain steps in after Arthur has accepted the challenge. How does he avoid offending Arthur and the other knights? Explain. 7. What happens when Gawain performs the deed? Explain in detail. 8. When must Gawain meet the Green Knight at the Green Chapel? 9. On his way to meet the Green Knight, Gawain stays with a Lord and Lady. He again makes a deal. What is this deal? 10. How does Gawain uphold the deal and how does he break it? Explain his motivation for both. 11. What is the Green Chapel? 12. The Green Knight takes three swings at Gawain. What happens during each swing? Explain both the knight’s comments and Gawain’s reactions. 13. After the three swings, the Green Knight explains his reasoning. Who is the Green Knight? What are his reasons for each swing? Why does the knight understand Gawain’s failure to return the sash and what excuse does he allow him? 14. How does Gawain respond to being called out for having kept the sash? What does the Green Knight say in response? What does it remind you of? 15. In the original version of the story, Gawain returns to Camelot with the sash as a reminder that he has fallen short of the glory of knighthood. Arthur listens attentively to his story, then takes the sash, cuts it into pieces, and gives one to each knight. He then explains that they should wear the piece close to their hearts as it will remind them that they are fallible and will always fall short of the glory of God. How is this story symbolic of the Covenant of Grace? 16. How does this story’s view of sin and redemption differ from that of Dante’s Inferno? Use specific examples from the story.
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