Masculinity : Portrayal Of Masculinity

2222 Words May 11th, 2015 9 Pages
‘Masculinity refers to the social roles, behaviours, and meanings prescribed for men in any given society at any one time… Although we experience gender to be an internal facet of identity, the concept of masculinity is produced within the institutions of society and through our daily interactions (Kimmel 2000)’ . As the type of behaviour and ideals that constitute as masculine vary depending on the social context of the time, the portrayal of masculinity in Beowulf and SGGK (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) will be somewhat different. Traditional traits that are commonly regarded as fitting with the concept of masculinity include physical prowess, courage, honour and glory, and loyalty. The representation of these traits in the respective two poems will be explored in this essay and it will be argued that while the expectations of masculinity are very similar in both poems, there are some striking differences, particularly a much greater emphasis on the importance of a man achieving glory in Beowulf and a greater regard for life in SGGK.
Perhaps first and foremost, the most obvious trait of masculinity is physical prowess. This plays a crucial role in Beowulf, being structured around Beowulf’s three battles facing an increasingly stronger monster each time. Beowulf has established a reputation for himself built on the defeat of the monsters, the success of which lies in his strength and fighting prowess. This makes those around him hold him in high esteem. ‘…all knew of…
Open Document