What Makes a Hero?
Sir Gawain and the Parson are two characters from medieval stories who display noble characteristics. Sir Gawain is a renowned knight whose heroic deeds are well-known, “. . . The knight sir Gawain famed throughout all realms whichever road he rides whose princely honor is highly praised amongst lords and ladies and everyone alive.” The Parson, however, is basically a nobody. Nowhere in the description of the Parson is there such a grand report of his fame. The Parson is just some guy who decides to go on a pilgrimage with a bunch of other people. Despite this vast disparity between the two, both sir Gawain and the Parson displayed many heroic attributes in their own ways.
Sir Gawain was humble to the point of risking life and limb for his King. At the beginning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain eagerly asks King Author if he could take his King’s place in a challenge made by the green knight, saying, “I am weakest of your warriors and feeblest of wit; loss of my life would be least lamented.” Claiming that he is the lowest of the low and therefore easily expendable, Gawain demonstrates the degree of his humility. The Parson is another character who is portrayed as humble. Although he does not give himself up as a replacement in a valiant challenge, he lives his life with humility. In the Canterbury Tales it is said, “He never looked for pomp or reverence.” The Parson does not search out admires in order to feel validation or raise the value of wealth above other people’s needs. Instead, he humbly goes about fulfilling what God calls him to do.
Gawain also displays tremendous amounts of loyalty, both to his word and to his King. As already seen, Gawain is eager to be used by Author. When he stood in place of King Author in the challenge, it showed that he was much more concerned with Author’s wellbeing than his own. Not only that, but he stays true to his word. Gawain meant what he said when he promised, “ Gawain is my name. I have this axe, and whatever happens after, in twelvemonth’s time I’ll be struck in return with any weapon you wish, and by you and you...