Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

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Defining a True Hero

	Is a hero the one who decides to stand up when everyone else is only thinking about it? Is a hero the one who retains integrity rather than give in to the world’s everyday temptations? Is a hero the picture of courage, or an example of morals? These are the questions that arise after reading the epic story of Beowulf by an anonymous author, and the romantic tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, also written by an anonymous author. The stories describe two very different heroes. Beowulf was undoubtedly a hero, but as time advanced and the world became more complicated, what constituted a hero became more shady; therefore, while he is not anything like Beowulf, Sir Gawain is also in fact a true hero.
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Sir Gawain appears to be incapable and thoughtless at first, but he slowly proves himself by his subtle actions. Sir Gawain represents loyalty along with an unclear purpose. He must put his life before the king’s and fulfill duties that are not always demanded of him. Sir Gawain is a hero only if he can face his failures; that is not even an issue in Beowulf. Sir Gawain demonstrates his heroism when he admits his mortality and imperfections in these lines: "I can’t deny my guilt;- My works shine none to fair!- Give me your good will- And henceforth I’ll beware."

	Of course, Sir Gawain is a passive hero because he exists in a romance, while Beowulf lives in an epic story, which revolves around its hero or heroin and their cause. In an epic, the dominating idea is that a hero is a savior of his people. Beowulf is the perfect example. He arrives from a far off land with one purpose, to defeat a monster. An epic story focuses on necessities of life, and keeps the characters’ purpose simple. An epic hero would be described as loyal, honorable, and courageous; he fights because he must and never looks back, with full knowledge of his mortality, because the survival of his people depend on it. Beowulf does not expect to return from the battle with the dragon but he enters the battle. "Then Beowulf rose, still brave, still strong, and with his shield at his side, and a mail shirt on his breast, strode calmly, confidently, toward the

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