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On the other hand, Sir Gawain’s test is not one against evil; it is one that tests his own honesty. It was him to dodge the attack from the Green Night.
Although the reader can hardly find fault with Sir Gawain, his story is told as a kind of cautionary tale to the reader, who seems to be advised to avoid hubris, even in the smallest of doses.
While there are never any real physical threats in Sir Gawain, the author alludes that the threats to one’s moral character are as serious as any physical danger, and that as such, one must wage his or her own constant battle against those forces that wish to lead one astray.
Beowulf is recalled as having performed physical feats that no other man was capable of doing, and such feats required immense reserves of courage.
In his older age the feats of heroism are more subtle, more abstract, and one might question his decision to battle one final time, resulting in his death wound and his people’s loss of their king.
In both tales, the reader meets a central heroic figure who is endowed with intellectual, physical, and psychological prowess that equip him for the task of confronting significant challenges to his authority and the people in his charge, thereby provoking the reader to consider the themes of heroism and the epic journey, as well as the theme of the constant battle between good and evil.
Beowulf And Sir Gawain Essay
By comparing and contrasting these two works, the reader can come to a fuller understanding of the importance of these subjects as enduring themes in literature throughout the ages.Beowulf can defeat the evil monsters, but Sir Gawain is unable to demonstrate that he is perfect.Gawain comes close to perfection, but fails by his own cowardliness.After fifty years, his country faced another terror: the fire dragon.He used all his power and sacrificed himself and finally killed the dragon. It was him to take the sash from the lady in the castle.This lie, once it is revealed, becomes the means by which the mild hubris that afflicts Gawain is exposed and also the means by which the hubris can be corrected.Gawain never loses his appeal; in fact while the lie is not really serious, he is incredibly devoted to repenting for it, which only increases his heroic stature in front of the reader. From an early age, he has proven his worthiness to carry both of these labels, and in this epic tale the reader is able to review his entire heroic life history to see how he rose to prominence.While not false modesty, Sir Gawain hides some of the more base aspects of himself, including his sexual passion.It is this passion that gets him in trouble and knocks him down a peg, leaving him feeling chastened.As we mature, “Beowulf" suggests, we begin to relinquish our fight and teach the younger members of society to carry on the struggle for good in the face of evil.While the types of scenes in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and “Beowulf" are dramatic, the lessons remain relevant today in contemporary society.