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Lecture 6

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English 1022E
Lorraine Dicicco

Eng1020E October 4, 2011 Lecture 6 TOPIC Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 6 Historical Periods  Middle Ages (1066-1500) Le More Darthur  House of Lancaster (1399-1461): Henry IV to Henry VI  House of York (1461-1485): Edward IV to Richard III  House of Tudor (1485-1603): Henry VIII to Elizabeth I  1350-1400: rich, poetic age and Chaucer; 1 major English poet Sir Gawain and the Green Knight  Written by a little-known poet in the Middle English period.  Known as the Gawain poet (other famous poet of the time: Chaucer).  Language: tri-lingual (Old English – 1449; language of the people). o Old English – oldest class o French – 1066; came into play with the Norman Conquest; upper class o Latin – used by the Church, government, and scholars  Social Issues were dealt with in French, and everyday issues in Old English.  *Vernacular English Dialect (very different from Chaucer’s).  Arthurian Legend; an oral story – eventually gets distant and under continual revision.  *Flat Character – not subject to change; very static.  4 Fits  Gawain is portrayed as the „perfect knight‟ and „perfect human‟. Poem‟s Format  In prose  Alliteration o Stylistic device in which successive words begin with the same consonant (stressed syllable) sound or better o Creates euphony or a musical air (lines 179-183)  [EXAM] Alliterative Meter o Each line divides into 2 half-lines by a caesura (“cut” or “cutting”; a break in a poetic line). o Each half-line has 2 strongly stressed words (“lifts”) o At least 2, usually 3 of the lifts in the whole line alliterate with each other. o Usually 2 alliterations occur in the 1 half-line, so each lift alliterates there.  Bob and Wheel o Line I. 196-202 o See text p. 151. o Gives a sense of conclusion and wrapping things up.  This poem is a romance narrative (12 century). o Chiefly tales of adventure (fantasy, delightful narratives) o Tales of social class (aristocratic class) o Magical o Medieval Romance hero goes on a quest (often for a lady love)  By the 14 century o
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