Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Comparison

Topics: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf, Knights of the Round Table Pages: 4 (1437 words) Published: December 15, 2012
Unworldly characters such as beautiful fairy with her wise mind and magical wand, hideous monster craving for blood with its horrifying fangs, and mysterious elf luring children away from their parents often add a magical aroma to the stories. Readers are enthusiastic to learn how their heroes encounter with these marvelous creatures, whether receiving a powerful golden sword as gift or putting on a life or death fight for his loved ones. These unworldly characters help the readers to perceive the story in a more in-depth way; they make readers bringing up different question for their appearance, purpose, and the idea they symbolize. Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, two of the earliest great stories of English literature, do not disappoint the readers and present us with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, the Dragon, and the Green Knight. The two poems similarly describe the protagonists’ encounters with these unworldly characters in three patterns, Beowulf’s three great battles with the monsters and Sir Gawain three nights at the Green Knight’s castle. The progression of these three patterns and different stages appear in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight influence how the readers view the stories; Beowulf’s three battles represent the progression of violence where as Sir Gawain’s three nights focus on human value and weakness. Beowulf’s first battle with Grendel in the Heorot Hall marks the first stage of violence as Grendel represents pure human evil. A banished demon descended from Cain, Grendel is outlaw by God because of his sin for the killing of Abel the Eternal Lord. Already in the beginning of the poem, Heaney introduces Grendel as a Christian sin of killing. When the beast comes around to the Heorot, seeing men in their festive celebration, Grendel is driven by jealousy and madness and feasts on human flesh, terrorizing the Heorot Hall of the Danes. The evil being that invades the human society is described with horrifying...
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