Beowulf Vs. Sir Gawain

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Beowulf vs. Sir Gawain: An Ever Shifting Heroic Ideal The epic tale of Beowulf, formed during a remarkable tradition of Old English oral poetry, illuminates the epitome of true heroism. Though the precise date of Beowulf’s origin remains a mystery, the great long poem was later written down in the early eighth century by an unknown Anglo-Saxon author. The character of Beowulf the Geat is depicted as extraordinary unmatched in strength and valor as well as exceedingly boastful and proud. Like many heroic figures, Beowulf’s entire identity rest solely in his physical and mental capabilities. Similar to the importance of Beowulf’s internal perception, Sir Gawain of Camelot places great value on his own knightly abilities. Also composed by an unknown poet—though in a far diverse time and place—the fourteenth century story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight portrays a character of exceptional merit and courage. Nevertheless, the foundation of Gawain’s heroic identity relies predominately on his ability to conduct himself with chivalry and honor at all times. The vast distinctions observed in those ideals that constituted heroism in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are largely established by the broad expanse of time and location between their periods of conception. In a time of early Norse culture, the impetuous and prideful character of Beowulf presents a quintessential hero for the current day and age. Though often brash and conceited in speech and manner: “I
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