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Sir Gawain and the Lord's Wife

            Many of the characters in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight have supernatural powers. This is true with not only male characters but female as well. Though women are shown with a large role, their role is not a positive one in this tale. Instead of showing the female characters as individuals the unknown author shows them as a basis for the stereotypical female of that time. .
             For instance, Lady Bertilak (the lords wife) plays a major role in this story testing chivalry but does not stand as the most honorable character. She is described purely by her sexuality labeling her as beautiful as opposed to wise. "Her chin is pale,/ her cheeks are ruddy red with health;/ her smile is sweet, she speaks with lips that love to laugh" (1200). The wife is sent to Gawain to test his honor and chivalry. In the fourteenth century females were often viewed as inferior to their male counterparts. The female is portrayed as tricky and beautiful. It is clear in this epic poem that the female is viewed unequally to the male. For instance, the author goes into detail describing King Arthur and is happy attitude. "But not one stone outshone the quartz of the queen's eyes; with hand on heart, no one could argue otherwise" (229). The queen does not speak a line in this tale but is respected for her beauty solely. As expected, each female in this tale is more beautiful then the last. There is no mention of an unattractive female in this unrealistic fictional poem.
             Towards the end of the book we are introduced to the female "witch" Morgan le Faye. The unknown author surprisingly chose to pick a female to be the character behind the whole story. Le Faye casts the spell that turns Lord Bertilak into the Green Knight. "She guided me in this guise/ to your great hall/ to put pride on trial/, and to test with this trick/ what distinction and trust the Round Table deserves./ She imagined this mischief would muddle your minds/ and that grieving Guinevere would go to her grave" (2460).

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