Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the three hunts of Bercilak were
similar to the three seductions of Gawain. Bercilak and Gawain made a bargain
at the castle. Bercilak said Whatever I earn in the woods will be yours,
whatever you win will be mine in exchange. (Gawain 81) The Green Knight tells
Gawain that he was sent by Morgana Le Fay because she wanted to test Gawain’s
pride and determine the truth of the Round Table’s fame, and the tales that
tell of it. (Gawain 123)
During Bercilak’s first hunt, they hunted deer. The hunters were on one
side with the peasants and dogs on the other, surrounding the deer. The
peasants and dogs made noise and cashed the deer towards the hunters. The
hunters slaughtered them as they came near. In Gawian’s bedroom, Bercilak’s
wife came into his room and tried to seduce him. She came in and locked the
door trapping him in the room. Gawian was trapped like the deer were trapped in
the forest. Gawian used words to talk his way out the situation, but before she
left she gave him a kiss.
On the second hunt, they found a boar and trapped it on a mountain.
The boar attacked and fought back aggressively. Bercilak faced it one on one
and killed it. In Gawain’s bedroom, Bercilak’s wife made another pass at him.
This time she was more aggressive. The hunters used the same tactic on the boar
as Bercilak’s wife used on Gawain. She tried to wear him down, but it had no
used because Gawain still put out. She gave him two kisses before she left his
For the third hunt Bercilak tracked a fox. The fox was sly and clever
and he chased it all over. Bercilak swung at it and it swerved and ran into the
dogs. The dogs killed it. Bercilak’s wife tried to be sly like a fox on her
third attempt to seduce Gawain. After failing to seduce Gawain, Bercilak’s wife
tried to give him something to make him break his word. First she offered to
give him a ring, which he refused. Then, she offered a magical scarf which he
The two different situations paralleled each other in symbolism.
Bercilak hunted the animals like his wife hunted Gawain. The whole experience
was only a test for Gawain and he managed to pass except for taking the scarf
and breaking his word.