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Sir gawain

            At the end of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, we encounter opinions of how bad Gawain's sin really was from three sources: Bertilak, King Arthur, and Sir Gawain. Sir Gawain's view of his own sin seems harsh. When he realizes that the Green Knight and the host are the same man, Gawain curses himself, saying, "Accursed be a cowardly and covetous heart! / In you is villainy and vice, and virtue laid low!" (2375). He proceeds to deprecate himself as a coward who has fallen short of his chivalric code. He calls himself a "faulty and false" knight (2382), and asks if he can regain the host's "good grace" (2387).Though he initially chastises himself, Gawain goes on in lines 2411-2428 to recall several Bible stories about men who sin because of women. The host's wife exposed Gawain's flaws, he claims, just as Eve exposed Adam's, Delilah exposed Samson's, and Bathsheba exposed David's. Though Gawain couches his discussion of the "wiles of a woman" in terms of a woman's ability to make "a dullard dote" (2414), he comes close to blaming the lady for his own downfall. Gawain decides to keep the girdle not only as a reminder of his fault, but as a sign for others, metaphorically equating himself with Cain (the son of Adam and Eve and the first murderer) who bore a mark so that everyone could recognize him as a sinner. Gawain's sin seems much less profound than Cain's, yet his decision to wear the girdle as a "sign of excess" (2433) that recalls "he faults and the frailty of the flesh perverse" (2435) aligns him with one of the greatest sinners in the Bible.Arthur's reaction to Gawain's account of his sin differs radically from Gawain's own. The Gawain-poet refers to Gawain's telling the knights and ladies of Camelot about his encounter at the Green Chapel as a confession of his "cares and discomfitures" (2494). When Gawain unveils the scar and shows them the girdle, blushing for shame, Arthur and his followers laugh out loud.

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