In boar. The animal ferociousness is symbolic of

In this section
of the poem, the author puts a lot of emphasis into the three different hunts Bertilak goes on.
The three hunts, the three temptations-Sir Gawain faces, and the three
different animals-being hunted: deer, boar, and fox. The first day, Bertilak
goes out and takes down a deer, a deer which illustrates the purity and
innocence of Gawain as a knight. The hunt was quite easy for Bertilak, revealing
the ease at which Gawain was able to resist the lady, further proven during the
detailed description of the butchering of the deer. On the second day’s hunt,
Bertilak and his men go after a wild boar. The animal ferociousness is symbolic
of the lady’s attempts at seducing Sir Gawain. The boar is fierce and much more
difficult to catch and kill, just like Lady Bertilak is harder to resist, just
like Sir Gawain is challenging to tempt. The representation of the boar reveals
both characters difficulty in succeeding in their goals. The last day’s hunt
involves a cunning fox. Foxes are known for their cleverness: an exemplification
of the clever way that Gawain resists her temptation. Yet Lady Bertilak’s even
more clever way of tricking Sir Gawain into taking her green girdle. Like the disappointment
Bertilak encounters with his limited hunt on the third day, he is disappointed that
Gawain was only tempted into taking the girdle and nothing more. He didn’t come
away with a lot that day. Even though both parties were quick in
resisting/tempting one another, in the end, the fox died. His death a metaphor
for Gawain’s fall from perfect chivalry and knighthood.


The animals also
seem to represent Gawain’s journey throughout the poem. It can be inferred that
the butchering of the deer is alike to the fate that awaits Gawain when he
initially meets Bertilak/ Green Knight. If Sir Gawain had failed the tests, his
fate would be the same fate of the deer. Luckily Sir Gawain behaves truthfully
and gets to make a bet on the second day. Here the boar refuses to run away but
prefers to die bravely in battle. When Sir Gawain approaches the Green Chapel,
his companion tries to scare him into leaving, however, Gawain maintains the
characteristics of the boar and continues to the chapel. Lastly, a similarity
is seen between the way in which Gawain flinches at the Green Knight’s first
blow and the way the fox flinches under attack in the forest. All of these
similarities reinforce the human characteristics that are attributed to Sir
Gawain and or Lady Bertilak. 

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