Redemption through death (and lots of it)

Hi all, so I just finished reading Sir Gowther and Gowther’s character put me on an emotional rollercoaster. It is really hard for me to accept that a character that starts out so wicked can ultimately be forgiven of all his sins and be revered as a “varre corsent parfett”(727) (or a very pious person). I find it hard to believe that the Sultan who forces war over the Emperor that does not want to give his daughter away is more evil than Sir Gowther himself. For instance, from lines 181-204, Gowther is shown raping wives, killing their husbands, forcing friars to jump off cliffs and burning hermits and widows – all before seeking out his absolution. However, his path of destruction does not stop after seeking out the Pope, as he is shown cutting the heads off the Sultan’s men and destroying his army. Now, I’m not saying the Sultan didn’t have it coming, as he probably did, but Gowther is a killing machine and to think that he ends up becoming a holy figure really does not make sense to me. The ways in which he destroys people resemble that of Cu Chulainn in The Tain, though I feel that Sir Gowther kills for the goal of absolution whereas Cu Chulainn kills out of necessity of life. I’m interested in hearing what you all have to say about this, either on here or tomorrow in class.

On a lighter note (maybe), Gowther’s life as a child, killing nurses and ripping the nipple off another woman (his mother?), seriously reminds me of films involving children that are either spawned from Satan or possessed. Maybe films like The Omen or The Exorcist could draw comparisons to Gowther as a child.  Also, I’m interested in knowing if this story has been adapted for children as some sort of religious propaganda, possibly as a way to teach people that they can be forgiven of their sins, no matter how terrible they may have been. Anyway, I’m going to stop rambling now!


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