박윤희/손병용, "[가웨인 경과 녹색기사]: 희화호로서의 가능성"
and ByungyongSohn, "A Reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as a Burlesque"
Medieval romance is a story of adventure, love, and
fantasy. Its basic paradigm is expressed in the principle—“The knight rides out
alone to seek adventure.” The ideal chivalrous knight grows in self-knowledge
and achieves fulfillment during the quest, overcoming various hardships.
Although it employs the story frame of the traditional medieval romance, Sir
Gawain and the Green Knight departs radically from the usual routine of medieval
romances, in which supernatural and marvellous characters and incidents are
everywhere. The appearance of the Green Knight and his proposal of “Beheading
Game” at the beginning heighten readers’ expectation of sensational story
development only to be frustrated at the end, when they realize that everything
is planned and there is nothing such as supernatural except the bizarre
In fact, the only mysterious figure, the Green Knight, is a
kind of device used to test the valor of Arthur and his knights and to frighten
Queen Guinevere. His presence in the romance is to reveal that mystique statue
of great Arthur and the knights of his house is just a mirage built by many
fictitious discourses. When the grotesque Green Knight breaks into Arthur's
Camelot during the Christmas holidays, the idealistic image of true knighthood
of the Round Table completely shattered—Arthur and his knights are proved to be
“boyish” and “beardless” children. Chivalrous renown of Gawain as a perfect
knight is also greatly hurt by his love of his own life. Even Gawain, an
incarnation of knighthood, is just a human being with flesh and blood. The whole
episodes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, after all, disclose that human
errors were to blame for the shameful deeds of the great heroes. And in this
disclosure, a burlesque of romance can be germinated.
medieval romance, burlesque, Sir Gawain, supernatural, mystery, human