The Separation Of Gawain As A Hero Like Achilles Essay

The Separation Of Gawain As A Hero Like Achilles Essay

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The medieval knight Sir Gawain is a hero like Achilles, but his certain characteristics make him unlike his Greek counterpart. The first quality that creates the separation of Gawain is that he is a Christian character, meaning that he believes in the monotheistic religion of Christianity, following the teachings of Jesus and God. He holds the values of this religion to be true such that he should follow with respect, compassion, and forgiveness. This religious view of life affects what Gawain holds to be his moral code, because he fights for God and for his soul to be perfect to reach heaven. Unlike Achilles during classical antiquity, the Middle Ages held Christianity, along with God and the soul, to be the controlling factors in which how people lived their lives. From this Christian tradition of living life Gawain’s masculinity is developed completely different than that of Achilles. Gawain receives his masculinity through the courtly love tradition, obeying polite and gentlemanly behavior for the higher members of the feudal society. His masculinity stems from his respect and chivalry towards all members of society on and off the battlefield. He does not show any aggression or rage when fighting only a sense of calmness, giving the reader the feeling that he is always in control of himself. The rules of chivalry state that knights have to pledge loyalty to their superiors and must display loyalty, courage, and a helping hand to those in need or in distress. These chivalric knights would take vows of poverty and chastity, while still addressing the court’s ladies in a courtly manor. Sir Gawain, thus displaying these values, shows and achieves his masculinity by abstaining from sex and his sexual desires. He does no...


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...eristics, which make them universal characters. A hero in literature, as defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica, is the main character of a literary work that is celebrated through ancient legends of a society. Most heroes, especially of ancient lore, have extreme and unlimited strength, skill in battle, and courage, while partaking in war or dangerous adventures regularly. They are always studied in literature, which makes them timeless, because they can help us learn different messages about our actions even in today’s world. In comparison it is concluded that even though Achilles and Sir Gawain were created at different time periods they still have similarities and both show us today how society was in the past. These heroes represent more than just a work of literature, but the value systems of entire societies, which is invaluable knowledge for eternity.

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