Compare And Contrast Beowulf And Sir Gawain

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Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are two of the earliest stories of English literature, both beginning as oral traditions or tales. A hero is defined as a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Beowulf and Sir Gawain are both portrayed as heroes of their kingdoms. Beowulf is shown as more boastful because his story is told during the early middle ages when men would speak very highly of themselves, while Sir Gawain is seen as modest and chivalric due to his story being set in the high middle ages. The two stories are very closely related because they share some of the key values of being a hero in the middle ages. “In addition to strength, courage and honor, …show more content…
Beowulf and Sir Gawain exhibit courage in many instances. Gawain shows his courage when he steps up to the Green Knight’s challenge, knowing he is risking his life for his uncle, the king. He also humbles himself by saying, “I’m the weakest, I know, and the feeblest of spirit, so my life would be the least loss, it is simply true. My only worth is that you are my uncle; my body’s sole value that your blood runs through it” (Gawain 354-357). “Gawain has cleverly chosen his most courteous words to release Arthur from this predicament and restore the reputation of the knights of the Round Table” (Neininger). Gawain is offered the chance to run away and not be given up, but he denies the offer because he would be a coward if he did. Beowulf first displays his courage when he hears about a monster terrorizing Heorot and immediately takes off to defend King Hrothgar. Beowulf says, “hand-to-hand is how it will be, a life-and-death fight with the fiend” (Beowulf 438-440). He is courageous enough to not only risk his life, but to go into the fight with no means of defense. Not only does he willingly fight Grendel, but he also seeks out Grendel’s Mother when she attempts to avenge her …show more content…
Gawain’s journey begins when the Green Knight appears at the feast and challenges the knights under King Arthur. Gawain rejects the call at first, then steps up to defend his uncle and king. He is tested by his journey to find the Green Knight, fighting off wild animals, and when he is faced with the choice to admit he has the green girdle or to keep it for himself. Gawain returns home after finding out that Bertilak and the Green Knight were the same person. He is remembered by the cut on his neck showing that he had been shameful. “It doesn 't matter to Gawain that the Green Knight forgives him or understands why he did what he did. In his own eyes, he has failed” (Neininger). Beowulf receives his call to adventure when he hears about a monster in Denmark. He is then tested by his enemy, Grendel, which he is able to defeat. He goes on to fight Grendel’s mother and defeats her as well. He then returns home to his people where he is now king and is called to fight one final battle against a dragon, which would lead to his death. He is remembered by his tower he wanted to have built by the

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