Sir Gawain vs Beowulf Essay

Sir Gawain vs Beowulf Essay

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Although Gawain and Beowulf share many similarities, their characters are almost complete opposites. Both aim for some sort of fame, one more than the other; differing in the way they attempt to achieve this success. Gawain remains true and looks to humility to guide him, whereas Beowulf is very prideful and selfish, loving nothing more than boasting about his virtues. Regardless, both go through tremendous changes throughout their quests, dealing with repercussions, and many challenging obstacles along the way.
Initially, Gawain’s strongest trait is humility, Beowulf’s is pride. In the beginning of Gawain and the Green Knight, a mysterious warrior enters King Arthur’s court to extend a challenge. Although he knows others in the court would handle the challenge better than him, out of respect, when King Arthur attempts to accept the challenge Gawain comes forth and suggests he takes his place. Gawain presents himself as “the weakest of them, I know, and the dullest-minded/ so my death would be least loss, if truth should be told/ only because you are my uncle am I to be praised/ no virtue I know in myself but your blood” (Broadview Analogy 269). Instead of bragging about his bravery, Gawain acts modestly and states that his death would be of little loss during this challenge. He is not self-absorbed and gives off the impression that the only reason he is a knight is because of his relation with King Arthur. By stating this, he gives off the impression that his self confidence is quite weak; this is astonishing for a character of this era. Although King Arthur has at least one of his knights to be proud of, it seems as though
Gawain’s behaviour is not looked upon as modest by others in the court, but rather disreputable. The D...


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...ash between good and evil. Beowulf is a representation of a Godly figure, possibly Christ, whereas his enemies represent figures of darkness, possibly Satan. Due to his battle with Grendel, Beowulf realises the true abilities of Gods power and develops into a more Saint like character who is more concerned with giving help rather than Gaining fame. He seeks Gods guidance, but looks to pagan ideals when he deems so. Although he never completely takes complete advantage of Gods power, he does earn the fame and glory that he fought bravely for.
Gawain returns to Camelot a changed man, bearing his sins on his shoulders, whereas, Beowulf develops into a more saint like character who is more concerned with giving help than gaining fame. Gawain becomes more aware of his wrong doing, and attempts to better himself by carrying the green girdle as a reminder of his sins.

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