Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo by UnknownSir Gawain and the Green Knight and Pearl are two poems by an unknown author written in about 1400. Sir Gawain is a romance, a fairy-tale for adults, full of life and colour; but it is also much more than this, being at the same time a powerful moral tale which examines religious and social values.
Pearl is apparently an elegy on the death of a child, a poem pervaded with a sense of great personal loss: but, like Gawain it is also a sophisticated and moving debate on much less tangible matters.
Sir Orfeo is a slighter romance, belonging to an earlier and different tradition. It was a special favourite of Tolkiens. The three translations represent the complete rhyme and alliterative schemes of the originals.
Passage Analysis: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
It is one of the most notable Arthurian stories. It is known as the "beheading game". The story is written in stanzas of alliterative verse. Each stanza ends in a rhyming bob and wheel. At a New Year's Day feast in Camelot , a huge green man rides in on a green horse carrying a large axe. He issues a challenge to any who dares to accept. He challenges any knight to strike him with his axe , if he will take a return blow in a year and a day.
Many different modern English and original-language editions exist. At times his tone can be nostalgic for the mythical past, but at other times he verges on criticizing a former age that is neither innocent nor pure. He often achieves this level of ambiguity through the use of signs and symbols with undefined meanings. Once the Green Knight survives the blow, Gawain has a year and a day before he must seek out the Green Knight to receive the return blow, which will almost surely mean his own death. Two months before he is due to meet the knight for his own decapitation, Gawain sets out through the wilderness in search of the Green Chapel. He happens upon a castle, where he stays until he must leave for his challenge.
It is one of the most notable Arthurian stories. It is known as the " beheading game ". The story is written in stanzas of alliterative verse. Each stanza ends in a rhyming bob and wheel. The knight challenges any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts. Then Gawain beheads the Green Knight with his blow.
It is one of the best known Arthurian stories, with its plot combining two types of folk motifs, the beheading game and the exchange of winnings. Written in stanzas of alliterative verse , each of which ends in a rhyming bob and wheel ,  it draws on Welsh , Irish and English stories, as well as the French chivalric tradition. It is an important example of a chivalric romance , which typically involves a hero who goes on a quest which tests his prowess. It remains popular in modern English renderings from J. Tolkien , Simon Armitage and others, as well as through film and stage adaptations. It describes how Sir Gawain , a knight of King Arthur 's Round Table , accepts a challenge from a mysterious " Green Knight " who dares any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts and beheads him with his blow, at which the Green Knight stands up, picks up his head and reminds Gawain of the appointed time.