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Courage In The Green Knight, Beowulf And Sir Gawain

Decent Essays
Since the beginning of society, bravery has been innate in everyone. From David’s fight with Goliath, to modern day’s stand against prejudice, people continue to attack in tough positions. However, cowardice is ingrained in everyone as well. People are constantly avoiding danger―physical and internal, such as Peter’s denial of Jesus and dodging responsibility. Consequently, there is a fine line between bravery and cowardice. Granted, when is the turning point where self preservation becomes a greater priority than helping others? In the epic poem, Beowulf, and the medieval romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf and Sir Gawain similarly show humanity’s inclination to act brave when situations become difficult, until their lives are put at risk―revealing everyone's inner cowardice. Beowulf and Sir Gawain are brave during tough positions because of their customs. While boasting, Beowulf shares that he battled sea monsters and emerged victorious. He says, “I fought that beast’s last battle, left it floating lifeless in the sea” (Raffel, p. 29, line 290). The warrior culture in 6th century Scandinavia is reflected in Beowulf, and displays his strength and courage. Whether he is fighting sea monsters, Grendel, or a dragon, Beowulf shows that he is a legendary hero and is considered superhuman. Sir Gawain reveals his bravery when he is about to face the Green Knight. He states, “but still, no use in fear, I won’t fall dead in fright” (Gardner, p. 160, line 51). Sir
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