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Beowulf, Sir Gawain And King Arthur Three Heroes

1149 words - 5 pages

The three heroes discussed here, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and King Arthur, are heroes for different reasons. Beowulf, our earliest hero, is brave but his motivation is different than then other two. To Sir Gawain personal honor and valor is what is important. King Arthur, Sir Gawain's uncle, is naturally the quintessential king of the medieval period. Though all men to a certain extent share the same qualities, some are more pronounced than in the others. It is important to see how these qualities are central to their respective stories and how it helps (or hinders) them in their journeys.The greatest value of Beowulf is his bravery, some may say bravado. There is no doubt that he is a great ...view middle of the document...

Beowulf's bravery carries the story. One because it details his ascension in fame and secondly it also outlines his downfall.The honor of Sir Gawain is his best value, though he suffered a set-back. His honor is the catalyst for what happens through the rest of the poem. First Sir Gawain respectfully asks to participate in the game with the Green Knight. He feels he is the person to act in the game as he is "the weakest, the most wanting in wisdom...And my life, if lost, would be least missed, truly" (354-5 295). This surely is not true, but to Gawain the valor is necessary. It is also honorable as King Arthur had first accepted the challenge by the Green Knight. King Arthur's possible death, as head of the state, would be devastating to the community. As Gawain tells King Arthur: "this affair is too foolish to fall you" (358 295). The rules of the game are set and Gawain swears to find the Green Knight again in a year. "Here is my oath on it, in absolute honor" (403 296)! He proves his honor by setting out to find the Green Knight a year later; even though he does not know where he lives and is certain his death will come about form the meeting. The poem's main theme is Gawain's honor and it is tested. He basically keeps his honor even in the face of great temptation. As when the Lady of the house tries to seduce him. Nevertheless he falters in trying to protect his life. But he does redeem himself by admitting his duplicity to the Green Knight, and learning from his experience. Beowulf in contrast does not learn. That is why he finds himself battling a dragon in his advanced age. Gawain's honor differs from King Arthur's as I believe Gawain feels he has more to prove than King Arthur. King Arthur naturally is honorable and wise. He acts when it is necessary.King Arthur's best value is his natural humble leadership ability. He differs from the other heroes the most because these abilities seem to be natural-born. He does not have to work at his abilities. King Arthur never...

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