Comparing Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Green Knights Essay

Comparing Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Green Knights Essay

Length: 1060 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In literature, the protagonist often conveys a representation of a larger being, whether it is a community or culture. That protagonist has many qualities that define him, but also many flaws that shape his outlook on life. The reader can learn from the protagonist 's encounters and mistakes to better prepare oneself for their society. Beowulf and Sir Gawain represent their cultures in the Anglo-Saxon and Middle-English time periods through pride and honor. These values are still carried on today from the Early to the Late Middle Ages, which can be seen through an archetypal analysis of the protagonists of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knights.
Most works follow “The Hero’s Journey,” a theory thought by Joseph Campbell, start with “a call to the adventure,”: something to start the story off. In Beowulf, his call to his adventure comes when he hears stories. The stories are about Grendel, a creature feared by all except Beowulf, terrorizing the warriors of Heorot. For Gawain, his call happens more dramatic. The Green Knight comes and challenges King Arthur to a duel, but Gawain accepts for him. Gawain cuts the Green Knight’s head off, but he still lives to challenge Gawain again for the future. The value of pride are similar in these two works, regardless the time period. They both feel that they must fight against a threat to protect the better cause, no matter the outcome.
Later in the work, the protagonist must cross the first threshold. The first threshold often is the steps in which the protagonist must do to begin his journey. Beowulf’s first threshold is actually getting to where he needs to be. He must cross the sea from Geatland to Denmark to get to Grendel. Gawain’s first threshold is very similar to Beowulf’s....

... middle of paper ...’s apotheosis comes when the Green Knight actually spared his life. Gawain realizes what he did was wrong falling for the temptation, and that he is better and nobler than that. These both tie into honor due to the fact that they realize the bigger picture, and they still can receive honor. Beowulf learns to stay alive, while Gawain comes clean to the other knights to keep honor.
In many works and even real life, some values stick out more than others. In the Anglo-Saxon and Middle-English time periods, values such as pride and honor stuck out heavily, which we still see today. Beowulf’s pride pushes him to defeat the forces that threaten his fellow humans and receives honor from the others for the difficult tasks he completed. Sir Gawain shows the value of pride when he accepts a challenge that he does not have to and shows honor by completing what he has started.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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)

Sir Gawain - The Noble Knight Essay

- Sir Gawain - The Noble Knight Sir Gawain is a nephew of King Arthur and the brother of Sir Gaheris and Sir Gareth. In the poem he is described by the author as "the good knight" and "most courteous" (1. 109,639). His character is shown through supernatural tests when he steps in for King Arthur and takes the challenge of the Green Knight on himself. Then his second test in the poem is to withstand the lust of the Green Knight's wife. Both of these challenges Sir Gawain passes, and gains more respect and honor than he had before....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Free Essays
894 words (2.6 pages)

The Journies of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

- ... After defeating Grendel, Beowulf also combats Grendel’s mother and succeeds. Upon his return to Geatland after defeating the monsters, Beowulf is rewarded greatly by his lord, Hygelac. He later ascends the throne after Hygelac and his son die. Similarly, Sir Gawain and Green Knight tells the story of a hero and his quest. The romantic poem first appeared in the fourteenth century. The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight begins on Christmas day when a mysterious Green Knight rides into King Arthur’s court and offers a challenge to the knights....   [tags: monster, hero, poem]

Better Essays
795 words (2.3 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]

Better Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on The Ambivalence Of Chivalric Ideals in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight

- The Ambivalence of Chivalric Ideals in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. After reading the poem I was very much captivated by the story of heroic journey. The fact that such fascinating narration could be produced more than 600 years ago was very surprising to me. The diversity in the literature is also amazing. Set in the time of King Arthur, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is a fantasy story of Sir Gawain who accepts a challenge by a green knight and embarks on a journey. The plot and setting are mythical and magic plays a significant role....   [tags: Pearl Poet Gawain Poet]

Free Essays
1520 words (4.3 pages)

Code of Chivalry in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Lanval, and Beowulf

- Code of Chivalry The code of Chivalry can be described as a brave, loyal, courteous, distinguished courage or ability that is admired for their brave and noble qualities. Chivalry is a system of ethical ideals that arose from feudalism and had its highest development in the 12th and 13th centenry.(Columbia ElectronicEncyclopedia).Respect is an essential part of chivalry. The code of chivalry is a set of rules followed by the knights during the middle ages. The evolution of heroic and chivalry code has changed over time beginning from the Middle ages to now....   [tags: respect, knight, rules]

Better Essays
972 words (2.8 pages)

A Comparison of Perfection in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Perfection in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight The heroes of both Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are fighters. However, the traits they have in common are far less numerous than those that set them apart. As each of the two is dubbed perfect by his contemporaries, it should be possible to draw the picture of both the model warrior and the paragon knight by comparing Beowulf and Gawain. The first question to arise is that of leadership. In Beowulf, the hero is referred to as "prince"*, the "helmet-of-Weders"**, or "master-friend"***....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
1074 words (3.1 pages)

Essay Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a poem written in the fourteenth century by an anonymous author. It describes the adventures of Sir Gawain, during which his morality is put to the test. The story develops around the Christmas game with the Green Knight. In this game the challenger, the Green Knight, proposes to exchange blows with an axe within a one-year interval. At the time Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written, Sir Gawain was considered to be the most noble and admirable of the knights of the Round Table....   [tags: Fourteenth Century English Literature Essays]

Free Essays
714 words (2 pages)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essays

- SIR GAWAIN and the GREEN KNIGHT In the Middle Ages, a time of brave knights and fair maidens, chivalry was alive and well, and honor meant much more than just pride. A man could be expected to be as good as his word, and God was an integral part of his life. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the title character sets off on a month-long quest for the Green Chapel in fulfillment of a promise made a year earlier, knowing full well that it could mean certain death. After the knight's final days at the court of King Arthur are recounted, he sets off in "country wild" where he is "far off from all his friends" (lines 713-14)....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Free Essays
500 words (1.4 pages)

Essay Comparing the Role Models in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

- Role Models in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Excellence has always been a virtue revered by society. Writers throughout the ages have tried to capture the essence of excellence in their works, often in the form of a title character, who is the embodiment of perfection, encapsulating all the ideal traits necessary for one to be considered an excellent member of society. However, the standards for excellence are not universally agreed upon. On the contrary, one man's idea of excellence may very well be another's idea of mediocrity....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
2249 words (6.4 pages)