In The Squire’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, the Squire compares the eloquence of one character to that of “Gawayn, with his olde curteisye” (v. 95).1 Gawain’s reputation for courtesy made him a much-loved figure in medieval verse romance throughout Europe. In the prose romances, however, his high reputation declines precipitously until he seems at times the very antithesis of his earlier self. In Le Morte Darthur, Malory takes advantage of this to lay upon Gawain even more of the blame for the fall of the Round Table than occurs in his sources. In addition to these two traditions there was a third: the loyal and valiant, if at times impetuous, warrior found in the chronicles. Post-medieval authors could therefore choose from among different sources to present Arthur’s nephew in a variety of ways: as a wise and courteous knight, widely loved for his service to others (especially ladies); as a proud and stubborn prince, prey to lust, envy, anger, and vengefulness; or as a mighty warrior, loyal and brave to the point of recklessness. He may thus attract admiration as the chief supporter of Arthur’s realm, condemnation as one of the principal causes of its downfall, or a combination of both. Nor is he exempt from humor, though it is usually affectionate.2