In goals. The last day’s hunt involves
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 different animals-being hunted: deer, boar, and fox, and the three temptations-Sir Gawain faces. The first day, Bertilak goes and kills a deer, a deer which illustrates Gawain’s pureness and innocence as a knight. The kill was rather 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 hunt a wild boar. The animal’s 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 trapping Sir Gawain into taking her green girdle. Like the disappointment Bertilak encounters with his limited hunt on the third day, Lady Bertilak 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.