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Heroism in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf

Heroism in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Night A hero, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary, is someone who commits an act of remarkable bravery or who has shown great courage, strength of character, or another admirable quality. He is looked up to for the brave and noble things he has done. Though Beowulf and Sir Gawain are both considered heroes they each have many different qualities. For Beowulf his reputation as a hero depends on the opinion of others within his society, for Gawain Christianity determines his bravado. In order to understand how they are both considered a hero in their society we must look at the many differences their respective societies possess.One major difference between the society that Beowulf lived in and the one Sir Gawain lived in is their views on religion. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the world described is one of order, where Christianity plays an important role. Sir Gawain fits perfectly into this world as a Knight who is brave not because he naturally possesses this bravery, but because he puts his faith in God. Beowulf on the other hand describes a world where religion and manners were not important. Beowulf’s actions are judged by others and how they affect society, and not by any religious force.As an epic hero, Beowulf possesses the qualities of valor, loyalty, generosity, and honor. He fights because he must in order for his nation to survive. Although he is a hero he is constantly aware of his own mortality, and it is in battle that his bravery is tested. The epic hero lives in a honor/ shame society, where a man’s good name is his most prized possession. Because Beowulf lives in a hierarchical society it is important for him to defeat Grendel, his mother and the dragon. Genealogy is very important in the hierarchical society, so if he had failed he would not only bring shame to himself, but to his family and nation.Beowulf’s greatest va...

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