Paper Proposal: “Forgiving a Knight’s Mistakes”

This paper intends to show the difference of knightly behavior between the Hawk Knight in Yonec and Sir Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Both these texts relate to each other by the concept of knightly behavior and psychology, showing how these two completely different characters share similar morals and mindsets. Scholars such as Muriel Ingham and Lawrence Barkley both describe how animals played a major role in the meaning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight during the exchange scenes (Further Animal Parallels in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”).  The idea of how the Hawk Knight in Yonec is part hawk helps fuel the argument of animal presence for both of the knight in the story, and how it drives the narrative forward. Another common idea between the two text would be the sense of pride that both of these knights have, and their fall from their high point, literally and figuratively, depends on the story. Martin Puhvel brings up many interesting points in his research about the behavior of Sir Gawain and how he was arrogant as a knight. The same actions that caused Sir Gawain grief, can be directly related to the Hawk Knight in Yonec and how he met his demise because of it. I will argue the elements of knighthood and behavior of both the Hawk Knight and Sir Gawain. Taking into consideration that both of these characters are completely different as beings, and completely different “species” in general. While Sir Gawain is human and a knight, he becomes prideful and almost dies because of his arrogance. Yet, the Hawk Knight, a supernatural/ superhuman being, died a horrible death without being given a chance to redeem himself like Sir Gawain. I plan on closely reading texts written by Martin Puhvel, Victoria L. Weiss, Muriel Ingham, and Lawrence Barkely when looking into how these two characters interact with each other.

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