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Beowulf & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison Essay

As for epics of the oral tradition, Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight never appeared in writing until many years after the story originated. Through the many retellings of the tale, it probably changed significantly over time; however, the essences of the society and the culture of each have survived. In many ways, the stories are not only epics and myths from their period, but both also serve as historiographies of the society and culture of its time.

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The epic of Beowulf portrays a condition of imminent disaster. This poem is a portrayal of the virtue of loyalty among the leaders and troops of that period. This effective and touching poetry describes Beowulf’s boldness and his sacrifice. It also describes how the retainers who ran away abandoning him in the battle, to save their own lives, were severely criticized. Thus, in a way, it is the story that discusses the importance of strength of one’s self and the strength of faith where loyalty plays a huge role.

The strength of one’s self and the strength of faith as a member of a community or root are reflected again and again in the story. The proclamation that “we belong by birth to the great people and owe allegiance to lord hygelac” (Lawall, 1185) is an example of belonging to a root where self strength and strength of faith amalgam into one. There is enough evidence of unity and fellow-feeling and it is manifested in its most profound quality when after the episode of destruction it is mentioned, “it bothers me to have to burden anyone which all the grief that Grendel gas cause” (Lawall, 1189). This thoughtful feeling is the strength of faith that in turn becomes the strength of self. This makes it possible to the end of his life; Beowulf lives his life according to the values of his society and the code of the ideal hero. Ultimately, Beowulf is a reflection of the values of his society. Life in the Dark Ages was uncertain; by necessity, people looked to their warriors to protect them from assault and invasion, and Beowulf represents the ideal warrior and king.

On a similar note, it can be related to the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Here we see the strength of comradeship as the origin of strength as we find “men then with bows moved into shoot.” (Lawall, 1673) It is the strength of a group that is attached with faith that provides strength to the individual. This sense of faith related to community strength appears many a time in the story like “with many a brave blast they boast of their prize.” (Lawall, 1676) Here too we find the plurality at the center of the successful ‘brave blast’.

Not only in conflict, is the sense of belonging and mutual dependence seen throughout the story where “the king comforts the knight and the court all together”. (Lawall, 1695) Here the strength of one’s self and the strength of faith as a member of a community are inseparable to the point of the whole unit acting as a single active organ in the path of success. This success is the strength and this makes an individual powerful.

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that it is obvious that the aspects of strength of one’s self and the strength of faith occupied a great point of merit in the society of that era. From the storylines, both in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, it is logical to believe that strength of one’s self and the strength of faith were the key points of success and only the successful individuals in these departments were of any position in the society where the definition of being a part of the society depended on the aspects like survival and success.

Works Cited:

Lawall, Sarah N. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. London: W.W. Norton, 2005.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 25). Beowulf & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison Essay. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/beowulf-and-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-comparison-essay/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 25). Beowulf & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison Essay. https://studycorgi.com/beowulf-and-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-comparison-essay/

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"Beowulf & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison Essay." StudyCorgi, 25 Oct. 2021, studycorgi.com/beowulf-and-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-comparison-essay/.

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StudyCorgi. "Beowulf & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison Essay." October 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/beowulf-and-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-comparison-essay/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Beowulf & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison Essay." October 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/beowulf-and-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight-comparison-essay/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Beowulf & Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison Essay'. 25 October.

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