The story begins when a gigantic stranger clad in green bursts in on King Arthur’s New Year’s feast to issue a fearsome challenge to the knights of the Round Table: Any of the assembled knights may strike off the stranger’s head— but that knight must be willing to receive a similar blow from the Green Knight in one year’s time. Only the gallant Gawain volunteers to uphold the dignity of Camelot. Sir Gawain the the Green Knight recounts Gawain’s adventures as he seeks to fulfill his pledge to the Green Knight…
The tale dates from the 14th Century or earlier and blends older pre-Christian symbols and understandings with Christian ethics and the Divine Feminine, celebrating the virtue of forgiveness. It also raises some fascinating questions about the role of human imperfection within a group, implying within the story that there can be no real acceptance by a group without such imperfection becoming visible. This is an amazing story!
This modern prose version of the Middle English poem makes it accessible, whether you are a teacher or parent wishing to learn the story to tell to 6th graders, or would like to have your high school or college students read it themselves. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying a copy just to enjoy yourself, too.
This prose rendering of a poem from the late fourteenth century (or earlier) recounts an adventure undertaken by King Arthur’s famous nephew, Sir Gawain. Brave and chivalrous, faithful to his word and ever-mindful of his honor, as well as others’, Gawain represents the model of knightly grace. When a gigantic stranger clad in green armor bursts in on the Round Table assembly to issue a challenge, the gallant Gawain volunteers to do battle for his king. This parable blends paganistic elements and Christian ethics to celebrate the virtue of forgiveness, and it is frequently assigned to classes in literature and history because of its short length and its excellent representation of chivalric tradition.