The Construction of Identity in Two Works

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
An analysis of the construction of identity, especially in a heroic sense, in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “The Tempest”.

This paper discusses the construction of identity in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “The Tempest” where we see the identities of those involved put to the test. The paper discusses how in both texts, the subjects are removed from their usual surroundings in order to expose their identities in a new and true light. The paper also notes that in both the texts it is an almost supernatural character that tests the identities of the characters involved and they are each faced with having to contend removal from humanity. However, the paper points out that in both cases this removal is ultimately necessary in order for the characters to discover their true identities.
“Generally we assume that our identity is something that is an integral part of our own being and has been since we were born. Because we are so involved in our own identity it is very difficult to stand back and examine what it is that has made us the way we are. This is one of the most important functions of literature that it asks questions of the human identity that we would otherwise have difficulty examining. However, in many works of literature the personal identity of a character is often evasive and it is a common device to reveal the character or a change in his identity at the end of the text when he or she has been put to the test. This is the case in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight yet it would not do the poem justice merely to state that it is solely Gawain’s identity that is examined.”

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