Sir Gawain

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Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The poem Beowulf and the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are two pieces of literary work that share a series of elements that can be described as similarities , which help us to set the main characters of both poems as similars, even though each one of them has his own manner and his own background, there is a point in which both will converge into an entity of bravery and honor, this considering that Beowulf and Gawain both are human beings , therefore they are not depicted as perfect beings.

Beowulf is the epic poem that tells the story of a righteous man whose bravery and honor are revealed throughout the whole poem, this made basically by slaying three demons in three different times in order to help the Danes. This epic poem consists in more than three thousand lines which use alliteration as its main literary device as we can see in the next passage: “fight with the fiend. Whichever one death fells” (Beowulf.440), we can see more than three thousand examples like this, since the complete poem was created with this format; the use of alliteration can be seen much more easier if we read the old english version. In its modern english version every line goes round a pentameter, with several variation that can grow to eleven or more syllables or less syllables.

This epic poem was written between the seventh and the tenth century, a period of time which can be described as a time of changes; in this time the anglo saxon peoples were in a period of transition, in which they were in between the german culture and their way to what nowadays we know as England. As we read the poem we can see that the king Hrothgar has a mead-hall built in order to celebrate after battles, this mead-hall is a breaking point in which we could say the real events start to happen, nevertheless the reason to mention this mead-hall called Heorot is to wonder why would a king build a hall like the one described in the poem?; the reason for this mead-hall could be to not only to celebrate but to demonstrate his power and intimidate every enemy, this by showing off his economic power; unfortunately for Hrothgar the mead-hall was not able to scare Grendel.

In regards of the social context of the poem, or better said, the reason for writing this epic lines, appears to be a symbolization of all the virtues that were supposed to be possesed by real men, men of god; therefore this text is believed to be created with a didactic purpose, it was a way to show people what the should do in a difficult situation, and also to scare them, this portrayed by three different creatures that are a representation of evil, this evil being christianized afterwards in order to get closer to the audience every day becoming, if we may call it so, more and more christian, as mentions tolkien: “Beowulf was christened by by Wanley Poesis --Poeseis Anglo-Saxoinicae egregium exemplum” ( Tolkien. 104). An example of the kind of virtues that the author wanted to teach to the readers is easily seen in the next passage: that will be his best and only bulwark.

So arise, my lord, and let us immediately
set forth on the trail of this troll-dam.
I guarantee you: she will not get away,
not to dens under ground nor upland groves
nor the ocean floor. (Beowulf. 1389-1394)
the main characteristic to highlight in these lines is the fact that the author is trying to represent the loyalty that real men should always have towards their superiors, by depicting a solid belief in his strength and with this giving himself completely to a greater good.

Even though the fights against Grendel and grendel’s mother are examples of different things the battle that Beowulf has against the dragon is the one that can tell us more about the beliefs around that age; to begin we have to recall the way in which the battle engages, with the dragon being awaken by a greedy fellow who steals a cup from the dragon, this is clearly a way to tell...
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