Sir Gawain and the Green Knight presents the reader a hero on a quest for the Green Knight. On During this quest, Sir Gawain encounters Lord Bertilak, a local lord that invites Gawain on three hunting expeditions. Additionally, Lady Bertilak attempts to seduce Sir Gawain three times. The three hunts parallel with the three advances by Lady Bertilak: the deer hunt and playfulness, the boar hunt and an aggressive attempt, and the fox hunt and cunning tactics.
The first hunting expedition’s target is a deer. The hunt can be described as being calm and friendly. It also lacked any specific detail. In a similar fashion, Lady Bertilak’s seduction attempt is portrayed as playful and also has a lack of detail. When the other two attempts are compared to this one, it could be said that this advance was playful and friendly, similar to how a deer is peaceful.
The second hunt has the target as a boar, an animal known for aggressive behavior. This hunt is given more detail than the first hunt. This hunt even describes how the target was slain. Lady Bertilak’s advances after this hunt change from being passive to an aggressive approach, similarly to how the deer and boar behave.
The final hunt draws more parallels than the previous hunts. This hunt has the most difficult target, a fox. The fox, known for and representing cunning, gives Lord Bertilak and Sir Gawain a difficult time as it tries to survive. The seduction scene portrays both Sir Gawain and Lady Bertilak as each representing a part of the fox. Sir Gawain represents the worry for his survival, similar to how the fox was trying to escape his death. Lady Bertilak represents the cunning and slyness of the fox by outright changing her methods of seducing Sir Gawain, from changing her manner of speech to the way she dressed.
Through the three hunts, parallels can be drawn between them and the advances made on Sir Gawain. Each animal represented a behavior that Lady Bertilak used when advancing on Sir Gawain.