Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Study Questions on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—
Name: ______________________________
All questions = 1 point unless otherwise marked.
All answers should be typed into your downloaded copy; #14 must be handwritten in; #20 can be typed in
or handwritten.
Work alone; suspected copying/ plagiarism will result in a permanent ZERO
DUE: One class from completion of reading of text in class.
What does King Arthur want before he is willing to eat his New Year’s Eve dinner?
Who enters King Arthur’s court just as everyone sits down to eat?
Who accepts this person’s challenge first?
Who asks permission to take over that challenge?
What is the challenge?
What symbolic meanings (plural) might the beheading have?
What symbolic meanings (plural) might the immortality of the Green Knight have?
What does Gawain get to keep?
What might that object, and where it is hung, symbolize to the Knights of the Round Table?
Why do you think this story takes place in winter? What would be happen if it was set in spring?
(5 points) Carefully reread the description of the passing year on page 11. What gets the shortest description?
Recommended: count the descriptions!
12. What common theme can you trace through many of the season’s descriptions (e.g. “birds ready to build”,
“hedgerows rich and rank”)?
13. What do these similarities foreshadow? (foreshadowing is usually negative, but can also be of positive things)
14. Why do you think the poet spent so much space describing Gawain’s clothing and armor?
15. (5 points) Using page 13-14, draw the two sides of Gawain’s shield carefully.
16. Does Gawain know where exactly he’s going when he leaves King Arthur’s court?
17. Does Gawain have an easy trip between King Arthur’s court and the castle in the woods? List some of the
problems he has.
18. Why can Gawain stay at the castle for as long as he does?
19. What is the “game” the lord of the castle and Gawain play over the next three days?
20. (6 points) Complete the chart below:
Gawain gets
Lord gets
Gawain gives to the lord The lord gives to Gawain
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
21. (5 points) Compare the adventures of the first day for Gawain to the lord’s day of hunting. Find points of
comparison for the hunt, the kind of animal, the successfulness, and the reactions of Gawain/ lord to what they
22. (5 points each) See above—complete for second and third day.
23. What is Gawain’s “sin”?
24. (5 points) What similarities can you find between the battle between the lord and the boar and the battle
between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother? List.
25. (5 points) How might this possible allusion add to the story of Gawain and the Green Knight?
26. Describe Gawain’s level of confidence as he sets out on New Year’s Day with the guide.
27. What does the guide warn Gawain about?
28. Draw a sketch of the Green Chapel on a separate sheet of blank paper—use details from the text. (5 points)!
29. What does the Green Knight actually in the end?
30. What is the explanation for the Green Knight’s actions (the three blows)?
31. How does Gawain feel after the Green Knight has explained everything?
32. Who was behind the whole scheme, and to what ultimate selfish agenda?
33. Why won’t Gawain go back with lord Bercelak (Bernlak) to his castle for a feast?
34. What does Gawain get to keep, and why?
35. What is Gawain’s trip home like?
36. What reaction does Gawain get from the Knights of the Round Table when he returns and tells his story?
37. Why do you think they react this way?
38. How does Gawain feel about their reaction?
39. Describe a real life situation in which you were involved in something you felt was serious and shameful, but
to others seemed funny, or at least not worthy of your shame.