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Loyalty and Sir Gawain

            The value of loyalty is one of the prominent themes explored by Anglo-Saxon literature. Faith is highly representative of the emotional and physical tension experienced by some of the characters in Anglo-Saxon literature. Aspects of these tensions can be seen in Lanval and in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in which the central speakers, Lanval and Sir Gawain, are shadowed and challenged by the maintenance of their faith to women. As a result, the value in these characters' faith is complicated by the relationships that they each established with the women of whom they encountered; in a sense, the concept of women, through the value of loyalty and faith, can be looked at as the good and evil of Lanval and Sir Gawain.
             The story of Lanval responds to this tension of faith when it first introduces the relationship of Lanval and of a fairy, whom of which seeks for his presence. Among the first instances of love and lust experienced by Lanval, seen where Lanval "looked at her and saw that she was beautiful;/love stung him with a spark/ that burned and set fire to his heart" (117-119), readers can notice the deceptive influence that the fairy has captivated upon Lanval through the strength of the fairy's love appeal. By the power and control that the fairy has attained from Lanval falling to her lust, a loyalty in which Lanval must maintain, results. Where we see the fairy elict the promise of Lanval to maintain his loyalty is when Lanval accepts the fairy's trust, promising "that he would do/ exactly as she commanded" (191-192). Here, readers can see the concept of loyalty being explored in that Lanval has committed himself to be dutiful towards the love that he has shared with the fairy. Lanval's loyalty is grounded upon his desire to respect the fairy and her needs to which he responds. By the very nature of things, Lanval's respect for the fairy isn't driven by his love for her, but rather for being dutiful.

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