In the worlds of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the journeys of two heroes, Beowulf and Sir Gawain, are depicted through the form of poems. The two stories have become two of the most important works of literature in the English history. In the two poems, both Beowulf and Sir Gawain face great challenges in their journeys as heroes. Beowulf embarks on a quest to defeat Grendel and his mother while Sir Gawain faces many difficulties on his search for the Green Knight. Although the main characters in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight exhibit many of the same characteristics, the two poems have stylistic differences and differ in societal values.
Written before the tenth century A.D., Beowulf is the oldest surviving English work. It was believed to be composed orally between seven hundred A.D. and nine hundred A.D. and written down by monks in Old English by one thousand A.D. Beowulf tells the story of a Scandinavian warrior and his quest to help a neighboring kingdom. In the epic, the monster Grendel has been terrorizing Hrothgar’s kingdom each night. Beowulf hears about the trouble and gathers a group of men and sails to Denmark determined to defeat Grendel. 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 cou...
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...hurian period followed the code of chivalry symbolized by the pentangle. The pentangle was seen on Sir Gawain’s shield, which gave him strength and reminded him of the chivalric code on his quest. The societal values from both time periods can be viewed as honorable, but the poems conveyed the notable differences between the two.
Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight remain two of the most important literary works in the English history. They exhibit many of the same characteristics in their heroes; however, there are a greater number of differences between the two poems. Their style and types and the societal values they reflect are distinctive. Most of their differences are due to the fact that they were written in completely different time periods. With four centuries of growth between them, it is obvious that the two poems would reflect two different ideas
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