Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

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The Medieval Hero: Beowulf and Sir Gawain According to Joseph Campbell 's interpretation of a hero, “The hero travels through the dream-like world of adventure where he must undergo a series of tests” (Monomyth). In “Beowulf” and “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” the reader encounters two completely different heroes, both reflecting the culture of their respective time periods—Anglo Saxon and Anglo Norman. Both of these characters face various challenges, just as Campbell says a hero must. Beowulf is first faced with defeating Grendel; upon his victory, he finds he must also eliminate the threat of Grendel 's mother. The reader is told that Beowulf continues to face challenge after challenge throughout his life until his final encounter with…show more content…
In “Beowulf,” Beowulf never shirks his duty in a fight. After killing Grendel, Grendel 's mother becomes a threat. Beowulf takes it upon himself, due to his promise to bring peace back to Heorot, to defeat her too: “Let us immediately / set forth on the trail of this troll-dam. / I guarantee you: she will not get away, / not to dens under ground nor upland groves / nor the ocean floor” (“Beowulf,” 1390-1394). Beowulf recognizes that his act of killing Grendel has brought this new threat to Heorot and, as such, it is his responsibility to resolve the situation. Beowulf encounters a similar situation when the dragon plagues his people. He is their leader and must face their foe. However, the narrator says “He [Beowulf] was sad at heart, / unsettled yet ready, sensing his death” (“Beowulf,” 2419-2420). Beowulf has this feeling deep inside that the dragon will be his undoing, yet he faces his opponent anyway. He knows that he cannot permit the dragon to terrorize his people, so he looks his death in the face and goes forth to greet it as he knows he must. In similar form, Gawain chooses to face his almost certain death as honorably as possible. When the green knight extends his challenge, no one is willing to accept it, however, King Arthur feels he must accept in order to maintain his court 's pride. The narrator claims, “Then Arthur grips the axe,…show more content…
“Beowulf” was written for the Anglo-Saxons while “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” was written for the Anglo-Normans, both descended from the same geographical location. The main difference would appear to be that the Anglo-Normans were less warlike than the Anglo-Saxons, mostly due to the advances of time. As a result, the Anglo-Norman hero placed more emphasis on knightly conduct than upon winning countless wars and battles. However, looking at the similarities between Beowulf and Sir Gawain, one can see the similarities between the two cultures reflected in the honor, weaknesses, and struggles that the two characters

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