• “Wiles of a Woman” – Challenging Gender Roles and Agency in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

      Staples, James; Watson, Kaitlyn (2022)
      Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a 14th century text written by an unnamed poet. This tale is set within the Court of King Arthur and hosts notable figures, with Sir Gawain the knight in the forefront. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight can stand as a written illustration of the heroes of the Court of Arthur. It can also, however, be seen as an early example of a text providing women with power and agency. The power women possess within the tale is hidden until the very end of the poem, when it is revealed that Morgan le Fay was really behind the games and quest that Gawain endured. This agency that women were given is juxtaposed with some of the reactionary views within the text. This can stand to represent the insecurities that were most likely felt during the period this tale was written in, and Gawain is the mode with which these insecurities and fears of powerful women are demonstrated. By considering these elements, this story can take on a new light as a progressive text for the time it was written in, and the unnamed poet can stand to be seen as an early progressive author who worked to elevate women within their work to a higher status.