The Folk-Tale Element in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
In Claude Luttrell article “The Folk-Tale Element in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (Studies in Philology, 105) Claude begins by stating that he believes that story of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” is a romance based on the themes of beheading, exchange, temptation. (105). This beheading theme originated from the background of Irish legends which was carried on into the era of Arthurian romance folklore. He speaks in detail about the theme of exchange as he relates the story or Gawain to another story that comes from Europe (105). This story is about a master who is away and orders a hero to complete a task per day for three days in exchange for the master going hunting. The hero is supposed to complete the tasks alone but receives help from the master’s daughter, which they do not tell him in the end (107). This is seen in Sir Gawain and the green knight with the host and his lady. Claude also says that when Gawain’s host says that the gift Gawain has given him in their exchange was better. He was hinting that he knew the kisses were from his wife, which Gawain denied just like the hero. Lastly, Claude speaks about the theme of temptation and how it is very prevalent in the story of Gawain. It is seen when Arthur and Gawain are both enticed by the challenge given to them by the Green Knight to play a game (109). This theme of temptation is also seen with Gawain resisting temptation for illicit love with the host’s wife three times (122).
Luttrell, Claude. “The Folk-Tale Element In Sir Gawain And The Green Knight.” Studies In Philology77.(1980): 105-127. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 15 Jan. 2013.