Essay Beowulf, Sir Gawain, and the Knight in the Wife of Bath's Tale

Essay Beowulf, Sir Gawain, and the Knight in the Wife of Bath's Tale

Length: 1466 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

British literature is an interesting and integral part of all literature in the world. Beginning with an epic as old as Beowulf, British literature has had a rich and ever-changing history. I have found that The Longman Anthology of World Literature is a comprehensive book filled with the world's prominent authoritative literary works from the time when stories were oral traditions to the present, including many pivotal works in the history of British literature. The authors of The Longman Anthology made an interesting choice when editing the order that the stories were placed in this book: though Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales were written in the latter half of the 14th century, Sir Gawain was placed before Chaucer's writings in this anthology. In fact, Sir Gawain was possibly written a bit before The Canterbury Tales. I believe the editors of The Longman Anthology chose to do this because Sir Gawain was originally an oral story whereas The Canterbury Tales were always written, and Sir Gawain has a deeper connection with older language and themes of the area than The Canterbury Tales due to the spread of Christianity and Christian ideals.
Although it may have been physically written down after The Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was created long before the former. I know Sir Gawain was an oral tradition before being inscribed because of the rhyme scheme and rhythm of the Original Middle English compilation. A precursor to Shakespeare, although it originated long before, Sir Gawain has the similar structure that an actor or poet would use to help them remember the lines of the poem and perform the piece. There is a certain number of stresses in each line and a particu...

... middle of paper ...

...ourneys, these men go in as an average man of the time, face a challenge that the Church thought a man of the day might experience, and come out purified and learned, as a man of those periods should behave. These stories are examples of how a life should be lived and the challenges that one may encounter. While the frames of these narratives change from fictitious to realistic according to the flow of Christianity-based, Northeastern literature, they each are pictures of the mentality of their times. As time progressed, so did the mentalities, which were heavily influenced by Christianity. This is evident in the slow removal of pagan beliefs in the supernatural monsters like dragons and giants into the more realistic literary frames. While all have their differences due to changing times, the hero's journey as a model for the everyday man is clear in these poems.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Tales : The Wife Of Bath 's Tale, And Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

- In Beowulf, Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath’s Tale, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the authors portray societal values through the development of plot. In Beowulf, Beowulf journeys to Hrothgar’s kingdom. He comes because a monster, Grendel, has been destroying parts of their village and killing their men. Beowulf also comes to repay a debt that is owed to Hrothgar for saving his father and his father’s army. When Beowulf arrives, he boasts to Hrothgar and Hrothgar says that he is allowed to try and defeat the monster....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1509 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf “My body, but for your blood, is barren of worth; And tis I have asked for this folly not fit for a King.” These are the words of a true hero. One who is willing to sacrifice his own existence for the life of another. These are the words and actions of Sir Gawain, a character from the beloved British tale, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Beowulf, another character from an ancient British epic entitled, Beowulf, is also portrayed as a “hero.” But Beowulf’s heroism factor does not even compare to Sir Gawain’s....   [tags: Compare Contrast Gawain Beowulf Essays]

Powerful Essays
503 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

- “I need a hero…and he’s gotta be larger than life” "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....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1295 words (3.7 pages)

The Mystery Of Beowulf By Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- We have seen it done many times by Hollywood, one man on a journey to fulfill his destiny as the hero. The interesting thing is these stories were being told long before Hollywood even existed. Two of the greatest tales that have been passed down for centuries, while being told in many different ways were Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a boy who through his journey must find courage and hart in order to face his biggest fear. The other tale being Beowulf, a story of a proven hero who must once again prove to his people why he has earned his ranks....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1176 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about Qualities of a Leader in Beowulf and Sir Gawain the Green Knight

- ... This epic poem is unmatched in that it is the lone survivor of an English genre; it also was a transitional tale that transformed Pagan ideals into Christian ones as a result Christianization, which began in 597 A.D. Beowulf begins with a history of the Kings of the Spear-Danes, beginning with Shield Sheafson. Shield Sheafson, arrived by sea alone, “likely that as a child all Shield brought with him only a sheaf” (pg.41 footnote2)1. Sheafson, described as the “scourge of many tribes, a wrecker of mead benches…terror of hall-troops” (l.4-6)1....   [tags: sacrificing, reverence, solitude, omnipotence]

Powerful Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

The Feminist Heroine Of The Middle English Poem ' Beowulf ' Essay

- The middle English poem Beowulf also defines the important ways in which the feminist heroine is part of an ancient poetic tradition in the depiction of empowered women in patriarchal society. For instance, the plot of the story revolves around Beowulf’s indoctrination into the court of King Hrothgar, since he has been chosen to destroy to the monster Grendel. However, an unusual break with patriarchal tradition finds Wealhtheow, the wife of King Hrothgar, passing the mead cup to Beowulf as part of this indoctrination....   [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Morality, Grendel]

Powerful Essays
1189 words (3.4 pages)

Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: The Power of Three

- The Power of Three in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight A recurrent theme in almost all Old English writings involves the number three. Beowulf fought the dragon in three rounds. In Morte Darthur, King Arthur sent Sir Bedivere to throw Excalibur into the lake three times. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the number three has a triple importance. In this story there were three different events that each happened in three stages: The three hunts of the Lord, the three seductions by the Lady, and the three swings of the ax that the Green Knight took; all three relate to each other....   [tags: Sir Gawain Green Knight Essays]

Free Essays
924 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Women in Beowulf and Arthurian Legend

- Women in Beowulf and Arthurian Legend A common theme in the stories we have read is that glory, happiness, and success come in cycles (this theme is commonly represented as "the wheel of fortune"). This theme is present in the Arthurian tales, as well as in Beowulf. Each story tells a tale (or part of a tale) of a rise to glory, and the proceeding fall to disarray. The men always were the kings and warriors, but the women played different roles in the different stories. The women of Beowulf were used to bind up peace (or were peaceful women), whereas the women of Arthurian legend tended to disturb the peace and cause strife....   [tags: Females Beowulf Arthurian Legend Essays]

Powerful Essays
1281 words (3.7 pages)

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- 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....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1009 words (2.9 pages)

The Roles Of Women Are Portrayed By Sir Gawain And The Green Knight Essay

- The roles of women are seen as not as important as the role in which men play. Focussing on the roles of a lustful temptress and a trophy wife in the Miller’s Tale, the roles of a hostess and monster in Beowulf, and the role of being passive and a sex symbol in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight of which the roles women had to be condemned to play in society at the time of these two text. In the Miller’s Tale we see that Alisoun is the lustful temptress who lead men into lusting over her. It states,”For she was wilde and yong, and he was old And demed himself ben lyk a cokewold.”(117-118) This quote is stating how that since she was young and a women that since she was married to an older man t...   [tags: Gender role, Woman]

Powerful Essays
1496 words (4.3 pages)