Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Gawain and the Image of the Wound

Paul F. Reichardt
PMLA
Vol. 99, No. 2 (Mar., 1984), pp. 154-161
DOI: 10.2307/462158
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462158
Page Count: 8
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($4.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Gawain and the Image of the Wound
Preview not available

Abstract

The wounded neck of the hero in the Middle English Gawain and the Green Knight constitutes a subtle yet significant link in the chain of signs that shapes the poem's meaning. As illumined by the long tradition of commentary on the wound as moral emblem, the site of Gawain's nick draws on the Christian doctrine of the Fall, ancient philosophy's idea of the soul's anatomy, and the implications of the literary motif of beheading in order to suggest the nature of the hero's culpability. Gawain's fault, as signified by his wound, involves the disruption of reason's reign in the soul and is associated with the scriptural theme of stiff-necked pride. Paired and contrasted with Gawain's wound are the sacred wounds of Christ, signs of the remedy for the hero's fault and the basis of a parallel between the moral concerns of Gawain and its companion poem Pearl.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
154
    154
  • Thumbnail: Page 
155
    155
  • Thumbnail: Page 
156
    156
  • Thumbnail: Page 
157
    157
  • Thumbnail: Page 
158
    158
  • Thumbnail: Page 
159
    159
  • Thumbnail: Page 
160
    160
  • Thumbnail: Page 
161
    161