Expository Writing Assignment
Comparison / Contrast
Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Both the Angloâ€“Saxon epic poem Beowulf, and the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight describe a heroic ideal proved in the battle. The first, Beowulf, is dated back as far as the 8th century ad. Sir Gawain and the Green knight was created five centuries later, in 14th Century, when the Alliterative revival in English literature turned back to the ideals and literary forms of Angloâ€“Saxon poems. Sir Gawain and the Green knight is very much alike Beowulf in the verse form and narrative style, it has similar conflict and it also celebrates the victory of fearless and brave heroes. But despite all similarities of these two literary masterpieces, they are different. Time changes ideals. Different time periods and societies have different ideals and values, and these two poems serve as a perfect example of this fact.
The epic of Beowulf is the highest achievement of Old English literature that inherits the Germanic heroic tradition. Like most European legends of that time it confronts its hero, Beowulf, with evil. The evil is represented in a poem by a supernatural creature, Grendel. Beowulf comes from a land far away to rescue a ci
Beowulf is of noble birth; he is loyal to his people and his king, "My people have said " that my duty was to go to the Danes"tm Great king", (Jovanovich B. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of the English medieval romances, celebrating chivalry and the knightly virtues - high ideals of the time of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He represents moral rules that simply did not exist at the time of Beowulf, when the strength was a primary requirement for a warrior. In any situation Sir Gawain remains an exemplary warrior, approved by the Green Knight as having real courage, honor, and moral purity. He says, "By Christ, it"tms Satan who struck me with this meeting, I feel it! He"tms sent me here to destroy me" (Jovanovich B. 15, 174), but he relies on his strength and the ideal he fights for, too. The Green Knight is not a supernatural creature (even though some fantastic elements are present, which is natural for romantic poem). He takes an honor to face the challenge of the Green Knight, who calls Arthur"tms knights bragging boasts and big words, fainting with fear, when no fight is offered. He perfectly represents Anglo-Saxon ideals of noble conduct, such as bravery and love of glory, allegiance to king and lord, and belief in the inevitability of fate. But his courage and knightly honor are highly confirmed mostly by keeping his word to the Green Knight.