Epic Heroes: Sir Gawain And Beowulf

1733 words - 7 pages

During the Middle Ages, both “Beowulf” and “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” were epic stories that were chanted aloud to the public. Each story told about epic heroes who went on a long journey to face or conqueror someone or something. “Beowulf” is a poem about a young man, Beowulf, who slays a monster and his mother with his bare hands to protect the people he loves. As the years go by Beowulf becomes king and a dragon begins to stir. In response to this, Beowulf fights the dragon with a sword and one loyal companion. Beowulf’s life comes to end, but so does the dragons. From this epic poem you can see that good does triumph over evil, but sometimes it comes at a cost. Along with “Beowulf”, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” was another popular poem. This poem was about a squire, Sir Gawain, who chooses to take on a game proposed by the Green Knight instead of his uncle, King Arthur. He took on the game because he believed King Arthur’s life was more valuable than his own and that King Arthur should not risk his own life. As a result, Sir Gawain became a knight because of his loyalty and bravery. Both Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’s and Beowulf’s characters share the same quality of courage, the desire to protect people and the involvement of supernatural beings. Beowulf and Sir Gawain share courage in both of their stories. Beowulf show his courage when he decides to take on Grendel without a sword and shield. In the story, Beowulf asks Hrothgar if he can slay Grendel without armor and he says this, “Grant me, then Lord and protector of this noble place, a sing request! I have come so far, oh shelterer of warriors and our people’s loved friend, that this one favor you should not refuse me – that I, alone and with the help of my men, may purge all evil from this hall. I have heard, too, that the monster’s scorn of men is so great that he need no weapons and fears none. Nor will I. my lord Higlac might think less of me if I let my sword go where my feet were afraid to, if I hid behind some broad linden shield: my hand alone shall fight for me, struggle for life against the monster. God must decide who will be given to death’s cold grip” (lines 160-175). He believes that if Grendel can fight without a sword; then he should be able to also otherwise he would have an advantage over Grendel. During the poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, Sir Gawain shows courage by accepting the Green Knights game instead of King Arthur. The game the Green Knight wants to play is one of King Arthur’s Knights have a chance to hit the Green Knights bare neck without him flinching, but in return the Green Knight has a chance to return the blow a year and a day later. When none of the Knights accept the challenge King Arthur decided to play the game himself. King Arthur was about to swing the ax, but Sir Gawain stopped him which is shown in the story, “Lightly the King leaped down and clutched it (ax) in his hand; and then quickly that other...

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