Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Essay Topics & Samples

Assigned to write an essay about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, you may face difficulties coming up with a good topic. This page can help you with that. Here you will find some of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight essay topics, prompts & samples.

Essay Topics

  1. Language and Style in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
    Elaborate on the poem’s language. What peculiarities does the 14th-century northwest Midlands dialect of Middle English have? What are some most common stylistic devices the poet uses?
  2. Elements of Romance in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
    You can write about the genre and explore the poem from this perspective. Try discussing three main elements of romance present in it: the quest, chivalry, and bravery. Why can we say that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an unusual poem for the genre?
  3. The symbolism of color in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
    There are many significant colors in the poem. Discuss each one of them. You can also try to see what color green represents? In which ways, the readers interpret the color green?
  4. A comparison of King Arthur’s and Lord Bertilak’s court.
    You can start by describing the castles. What are the main differences and similarities in the way the poet described and located the two? What about the wives? Describe what role is assigned to them in the poem and which one has more significance for the plot development? What codes or rules guide these two courts?
  5. Christianity and Chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
    There is a very close correlation between chivalry and Christianity. What is the connection? You can examine Christian symbolism and values. Elaborate on chivalric idealism, as presented in the poem.
  6. Treatment of women in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
    Undoubtedly, female characters in this poem play a critical role. Analyze each of the women in it and demonstrate their role in driving the plot. How are Lady Bertilak and Queen Guinevere being treated by others? What about Morgan le Faye?
  7. Importance of the “beheading game” in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    Can we say that the “beheading game” was fair? Give some other examples of such games from medieval literature. Can you elaborate on the theme of games, rules, and orders connected with the “beheading game?”
  8. Image of Virgin Mary in the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
    Why do you think Sir Gawain chose Virgin Mary as his saint? What does the image of the Virgin Mary embody? Discuss how the Virgin Mary is connected to the pentangle.
  9. A double meaning behind the pentangle symbol on Sir Gawain’s shield.
    A pentangle is a significant symbol in the poem. Why is it important to focus on its duplicity? Does it represent both magical elements and Christian beliefs? Is it a symbol of honor or disgrace? How does this symbol transform throughout the poem?
  10. Compare the Green Knight and Lord Bertilak.
    Among other Sir Gawain and the Green Knight essay topics, this one requires thorough comparison. Focus on the differences and the similarities between the two central characters. Describe their physical appearance and their attitude towards chivalry. What forces drive their way of living?

Essay Samples

Now that you’ve seen the possible topics for your Sir Gawain and the Green Knight essay, let’s consider some examples. Open the links below to examine the actual samples to understand how to write a paper on the poem.

  1. The Courtesy in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” Poem
    Courtesy is a virtue that was regularly illuminated in medieval literature. Not only knights but all the noble people had to display it to be considered honorable. In the essay, the author examines how this concept reveals itself in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
  2. Medieval Art Characteristics
    To understand how Sir Gawain and the Green Knight differs from other examples of medieval romance, you should know the fundamental features of medieval literature. What influenced the poem? What common themes for the period it contains? See in the essay.
  3. The Impact of Religion in Society
    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is known for its religious allegories and symbols. Why did the author come up with these unusual for the period ideas? Find out what role religion played in medieval society from the essay to understand.
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