Tasting Temptation

A discussion of the role of temptation within the context of the play, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and the novel, “The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien.

This paper describes how “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and the “Fellowship of the Ring” are both literary pieces which show how a character can be tempted by the necessity for survival and the desire for self-pleasure. It examines how being devoted to their quests Sir Gawain and Frodo are often ignorant of enticements and often obliged to settle according to the situation and of all the great hurdles that they face on their quests, none is as imposing as that of temptation. Both characters eventually fall from grace and give in to temptation but don’t stay damned by their actions because they rely on faith to guide and redeem.
Medieval literature often utilizes its characters to depict the consequences of human nature; moreover, medieval literature focuses on the fragility and power of the determined individual. In the Fellowship of the Ring and Sir Gawain, the main characters strive to retain their reputations while facing challenges which force them to encounter evil in the visage of nature, the supernatural and man. They have to attempt to succeed in rising above their human (and hobbit) driven tendencies to rely on instinct over integrity. Perhaps the greatest testament to the will of Frodo Baggins and Sir Gawain is their resilience and optimism.