Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School

English and Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Michael Nagy


Culture, Deformed, Medieval Literature, Monster, Monster Theory, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Sir Gawain has always been marked as a victim in the well-known poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but he is much more than that. Standing with the knights of the Round Table, he seems to be the perfect example of what chivalry should look like, especially with an adherence to the common religious beliefs. However, when put into the context of the manuscript in which it was found, Gawain seems to stand as an allegorical figure of the do-not’s of feudal and religious chivalry. Using the lens of Monster Theory via Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and David Williams, I will prove that Gawain is, in fact, the main monster of the poem as he journeys on his quest. Gawain has never been considered in this way, and his choices lead him further and further into monstrosity.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Gawain (Legendary character)
Green Knight (Arthurian legendary character)
Knights and knighthood.
Monsters in literature.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright