Gawain, Sir(gä`wān, –wĭn), one of the most popular heroes of Arthurian legendArthurian legend,
the mass of legend, popular in medieval lore, concerning King Arthur of Britain and his knights. Medieval Sources
The battle of Mt. Badon—in which, according to the Annales Cambriae (c.
..... Click the link for more information. ; nephew of King Arthur. He was regarded, particularly in the early romances, as the model of chivalry—pure, brave, and courteous. In later romances, when spiritual purity was valued more than chivalrous deeds, his character deteriorated, becoming treacherous and brutal. Gawain is most famous as the hero of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (see Pearl, ThePearl, The,
one of four Middle English alliterative poems, all contained in a manuscript of c.1400, composed in the West Midland dialect, almost certainly by the same anonymous author, who flourished c.1370–1390.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
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remained chaste despite the temptations offered him each night by his hostess. [Br. Lit.: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Benét, 934]
challenged by the Green Knight, Gawain cuts off his head. [Br. Lit.: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in Benét, 934]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.