Term Paper: Green Knight vs. The Mario Brothers Video

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¶ … Green Knight vs. The Mario Brothers Video Game

Many aspects of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight can be seen in the modern day fable of the Super Mario Brothers. Honor, travel, battle, and lovely women are involved in both timeless sagas; and ultimately Mario, just like Sir Gawain, manages to overcome numerous obstacles to uphold what he believes in. Just as Gawain is a member of the honored order of the Knights of the Round Table, Mario is in a league of videogame heroes. Common themes running through both tales are resistance to temptation and battle of magical forces; both Gawain and Mario use their own magic to counteract the forces that seek to do them harm and must resist the wiles of enemies trying to lead them astray. The tales of Sir Gawain and Mario possess many parallels that tie the two together as a pair of unforgettable heroes.

To begin with Sir Gawain is a member of the Knights of the Round Table; as such, he is famous for his bravery and chivalry. His lord is King Arthur who was destined to be king by legend. Similarly, Mario is the champion of the Mushroom realm and is responsible for battling the forces of evil and villainy wherever they happen to appear. The king of this land is King Toadstool who Mario bound to by the obligations of goodness. Generally, in Camelot as well as in the Mushroom realm, people are happy and peaceful, but there are always those who wish to pursue mischief and test the bravery of both the knights and the Mario Brothers.

Like Sir Gawain, Mario is not the only hero in the Mushroom realm. His brother, Luigi, is almost equally formidable but receives far less fame and glory. Occasionally, Mario teams up with other champions like Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Toad, and Peach to name a few; however, this is usually for the purpose of sport. This is quite similar to the way that Sir Gawain battles Sir Lancelot, Sir Percivale, Sir Galahad, and Sir Tristram in the joust. Usually, in the Mushroom realm this competition among allies takes the form of go cart racing, and is not intended to right any of the wrongs of the world.

Yet, just as in Camelot, things are not always to light-hearted. When the Green Knight appears and steals Sir Gawain's honor, it is analogous to the many times when that most beastly of troublemakers, Bowser, steals Princess Peach. Naturally, just as Gawain is bound by oath to uphold the honor of the Round Table, so too is Mario bound to ensure the safety of Princess Peach. And so, both heroes are compelled by matters out of their own control to set out on journeys that are both perilous and magical.

Unfortunately for both Mario and Gawain neither of them knows, at the onset of their adventures, where specifically they are supposed to go. Sir Gawain is told to meet the Green Knight at the Green Chapel, though he has relatively no idea where this chapel is to be found. Mario knows that he will find both Bowser and Peach in a castle, though he has no idea which castle they will be found in. So, each of the heroes are given only vague directions in which to fulfill their quests: Gawain is to follow where his eyes and ears lead him, while Mario begins at level one and works himself aimlessly forward.

As each of the heroes set out, they have very limited weaponry with which to fight their potential adversaries. Sir Gawain is without any magic to protect him from the enchantments that surround the realm of Camelot. Mario is forced to begin small, without the power of the magic mushrooms to aid him. Yet neither one is completely without help. Gringolet accompanies Sir Gawain, and both don full war regalia including armor and medieval weaponry. Similarly, Luigi tails close behind Mario, and both of them are armed with three lives and powerful boots that can stomp anything in their path. So, although Mario and Gawain begin their adventures at a disadvantage, they maintain the potential to go far if they stick close to the path of truth and courage.

Early on Gawain encounters wolves that challenge him, but are fairly easy to subdue. Mario is also challenged from the beginning, but the Goombas are too slow and stupid to avoid the stomping of his boots. Yet these are not the end of their troubles, because Gawain and Mario soon find themselves doing battle with dragons. Gawain is successful in killing his dragon with a lance, but Mario finds that he needs to stomp on the dragon's head three times before it is flung into the sky and surrenders its magic. These dragons are difficult for both heroes, but are ultimately killed because their evil and destructive natures are not welcome in either Britain or the Mushroom Kingdom.

The next test for Sir Gawain comes in the form of a roving ogre with three eyes. The battle between the two is long and hard, but Sir Gawain is victorious by virtue of his skill with a sword. This ogre is analogous to the marauding hatchet-throwers that Mario is forced to vanquish. These are formidable adversaries, but by using his skill with fireballs Mario is able to make short work of these foes as well. Both the ogre and the hatchet-throwers are odious scoundrels whose only purpose is to hinder the work or the righteous heroes as they work to uphold the values that make their realms peaceful and lovely places: they must be killed for the benefit of all good creatures.

Of course, mortal foes are not the only obstacles that make Mario's and Sir Gawain's paths difficult; the sheer length of their journeys are almost equally daunting. Both are aimless travelers, and both also find that they cannot fulfill their quests all at once. Gawain discovers refuge in a Lord's castle where he is provided with food, shelter, and a warm place to sleep. Although he has not forgotten his greater cause, he is wary from all of the hardships he has already endured. Running parallel to this downtime is Mario's tale; Mario is given the chance to rest and recover from the hardships of his quest. He and Luigi have the option to practice their skills by battling each other in officially sanctioned games that do not end in death. This time is hard earned by both warriors and can last as long as they wish. Nevertheless, Mario is not allowed the luxury to forget the pain Peach suffers for each moment he dallies. Accordingly, these breaks are typically brief, and the task of seeking Bowser is taken up soon thereafter. Gawain too remembers his obligations, and remains true to his duty to find the Green Knight.

Just as Sir Gawain is tempted to violate his duty as a knight three times, Mario is also thrice tempted to forego the trouble of drudging through every land in the Mushroom Kingdom. Sir Gawain's temptation comes in the form of sexual advances from his Lord's lady. The first time she appears in his bedroom and gives him a kiss; the second time it is two kisses; and the third time Gawain receives three kisses and a belt that he takes out of fear for his own life. This, the third occasion, is the only instance in which Gawain gives into his selfish desires and partially breaks his oath of chivalry. By accepting the magical belt from the lady and neglecting to inform his host, Sir Gawain reveals his weakness and fear. However understandable this fear may be, Gawain feels guilt regarding the incident for the rest of his days.

Mario is also tempted three times to take the easy way out. The first temptation comes early; he wins a warp whistle in the first land he visits. He is told that one toot on the whistle will take him to lands far, far away. Yet, if he gives in and uses the magical whistle he will lose much of his fame and esteemed reputation, in addition to points. Over the course of his subsequent adventures Mario wins not one but two more whistles, each possessing the same power. Eventually, he sees how difficult the road is before him and how likely death is; Mario uses the whistles to reach the castle where Bowser is keeping Peach. He regrets his weakness but is still thankful for the security the whistles have provided him. Like Gawain, Mario is tempted three times and ultimately gives in out of fear for his own life.

The most significant difference between these two timeless tales comes in the heroes' final encounters with their enemies. Sir Gawain's foe, the Green Knight, is revealed to be none other than his friend the Lord. The Green Knight is merely enchanted by King Arthur's sister in an attempt to test the courage of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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