"Often, for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked" (Beowulf, 572-573). Courage, bravery and honesty are all attributes that make a good hero; the definition of a hero may have minutely changed over time, but the overall idea will always be the same. Today’s standards and musical lyrics indicate that people still want to have traditional heroes. “Where have all the good men gone and where are all of the gods…Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed? I need a hero…and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight… and he’s gotta be larger than life” (Tyler). In the poems Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the hero has all of the qualities listed. Both men are not only kind and loyal to their comrades and townspeople, but they also show dominance and prove that they are worthy of the title “hero.” Beowulf and Sir Gawain have all the characteristics of a gallant warrior as well as the flaws that also seem to accompany most heroes.
Sir Gawain, the hero of his own tale, was willing to die for his honor and bravery, and he knew what his fate would be as a knight. He thought that he was perfect. “Religiously, the Pentangle’s five points have been known to represent the five points of Christ, symbolize the star of Bethlehem, the five virtues of knighthood: ‘Generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety’” (Religion: Pentangle). Gawain embarks on his journey with a shield bearing the pentangle. Rather than carry this shield with humility, Gawain begins his journey with the idea of perfection. When Gawain arrives at the white castle in the meadow and meets the wife of the Green Knight, she tempts him and he denies her. “If Gawain w...
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...hetype of heroes but additionally show the true characters of human nature such as experiencing temptations (even though they did not both succumb to it) and being prideful. A hero always possesses a downfall, but the way that this type of character handles the weakness is what truly sets him apart. The conclusions of the poems are indicative of each character’s personality. Beowulf dies protecting his people, and Sir Gawain is back at the Round Table and has grown immensely, not just in stature but in maturity, since he left for his journey. Whether in Medieval times or in the present, people search for those men who are strong, courageous and outstanding leaders; they truly are the heroes. “Where’s the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds…I need a hero…racing on the thunder…out where the lightning splits the sea…and he’s gotta be larger than life” (Tyler).
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