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Disillusioned, the once-idealistic Gawain finds that the code of chivalry which once formed his moral core has now been shaken.In contrast to the questionable nature of the chivalric code, the poet upholds Christian faith as the ultimate, saving grace for humanity.
In reality, much of the interest of medieval literature comes from recognizing how one work of literature pulls against those that came before it, makes subtle changes from its sources, and invests old material with new meanings.
One can read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as simply a rollicking tale of adventure and magic or, alternatively, as a lesson in moral growth.
Biblical parallels can be found in the appearance of Bertilak's castle (Paradise) and the role of his wife as temptress (Eve).
Accordingly, Gawain loses his moral innocence when his value system is shattered by the end of the poem.
Medieval poets were expected to re-use established source materials in their own works.
Modern readers sometimes mistakenly take this as evidence of how lacking in creativity and originality the Middle Ages were.
And while humans shy away from their inevitable death, it is Nature which can continue to restore and regenerate itself, as seen in the indestructible Green Knight and the passing and resurrection of the year.
The poem is full of detailed descriptions of human constructs, like armor, clothing, food, architecture, even the cutting of hunted deer.
And when Gawain returns to human society at the end of the poem, it is with a sense of unease, having realized the power of Nature in comparison to his human beliefs.
Throughout the poem, we see natural settings and impulses constantly opposed to those of human society and civility.