Comparing Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Green Knights Essay

Comparing Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Green Knights Essay

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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....


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...in’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.

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