Have We Failed the Green Knight?

In the King Arthur tale of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, the Green Knight tests Sir Gawain on his honor and bravery. He does this by asking Sir Gawain to cut of the Green Knights head, and if the Green Knight survives in a years time he gets to cut of Sir Gawain’s head. Now this may seem like a somewhat easy bet after all cutting of the Green Knight’s head should kill him letting Sir Gawain of the hook, but after his beheading the Green Knight picks up his head and tells Sir Gawain to met him at the Green Chapel in a years time. A year later Sir Gawain sets on his journey to the Green Chapel and stays at a nearby castle where the Green Knight tests Sir Gawain by seeing if he will be tempted by the Green Knight’s wife. Sir Gawain passes this test by not being tempted by the woman, but his bravery is wavered when he accepts a “magic girdle” that will protect him from harm. When Sir Gawain confronts the Green Knight he wears the girdle and after some taunting from the Green Knight gets a knick on his neck for the fault in his bravery for wearing the girdle. So then the question must be asked would anyone today pass his test or even accept it? Would you be able to cut off someone else’s head let alone stand still for them to cut off your’s? Even with a magic life saving belt? I don’t think I could.

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