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Compare and contrast Beowulf's speech (Beowulf lines 365-428 ) with Gawin's speech (Sir...

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anorth12 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 18, 2013 at 2:43 AM via web

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Compare and contrast Beowulf's speech (Beowulf lines 365-428 ) with Gawin's speech (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight lines 343-361). Include the topic of each speech, the audience for each, and the tone. 

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 21, 2013 at 7:35 PM (Answer #1)

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Lines 365-428 of Beowulf contain three different speeches (or dialogues) by three different men (Wulfgar, Hrothgar, and Beowulf). Lines 365 through 370 are Wulfgar's. Here, he is imploring Hrothgar to welcome Beowulf into Heorot so that he can defeat Grendel. Lines 371 through 389 belong to Hrothgar. Here, he tells of his knowledge of Beowulf and his father. In the end of his speech, Hrothgar decides top welcome Beowulf into Heorot. Lines 392 through 399 return to the voice of Wulfgar. Here, he welcomes Beowulf and his men into Heorot. After a few lines of action described by the narrator, Beowulf speaks (408-428, and his dialogue actually extends through line 456). In these lines, Beowulf declares his loyalty to Hrothgar, announces his fame, tells of his previous battle with five monsters, and declares his determination to destroy Grendel. The topic is Beowulf's intent in the Danelands. The audience is Hrothgar, his men, and Beowulf's men. The tone is prideful and positive. 

As for the lines from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (lines 343-361), Sir Gawain is stating that he will be the one to take the challenge of the Green Knight. He, very different from Beowulf, believes that he is not a hero (that his life would not be missed). He is far from the confidant man Beowulf is, yet Gawain speaks very eloquently (like Beowulf). Gawain takes the challenge, like Beowulf, yet does not feel as if he is the best man (regarding his ability). He only states that he is the best one for the job because his "life is little enough to lose." Gawain's honor comes in the fact that King Arthur is his uncle (not that he is a hero like Beowulf). His audience in Arthur, Arthur's Queen, Arthur's knights and guests, and the Green Knight. The topic of the speech is the acceptance and reasoning behind his taking of the challenge. The tone is one of courage. 

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