Compare and contrast life in the two mead halls, Heorot in Beowulf and Camelot in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in a graphic organizer. I can write essays fine, I just cannot understand most literary...

Compare and contrast life in the two mead halls, Heorot in Beowulf and Camelot in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in a graphic organizer.

I can write essays fine, I just cannot understand most literary works from the Middle Ages. Please help me? Thanks!(:

I need to include similarities and differences for the folllowing:


What was the appearance of both the halls?:

Entertainment of both the halls?:

Who was present/who was absent at both halls?:

What was the mood/atmosphere of both the halls?:

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In both Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf, the main halls are places of community and celebration. While both welcome visitors, the two halls are very different in structure and function, as described below. In preparing your graphic organizer, note similarities and differences.

In Gawain's tale, Camelot is in the midst of Christmas celebrations. Everyone is dressed in their best clothing.  There is caroling and a great deal of laughter. During the day the celebration can be heard clearly; at night there is much dancing. The knights take part in sporting events, such as jousting, and it is a joyous place.

This king lay at Camelot upon Christmas tides 
With many loyal lords, lads of the best, 
Renowned of the Round Table all those rich brethren, 
With rich revel aright and reckless mirth. 
There tourneyed troopers by times full many, 
Jousted full jollily these gentle knights, 
Then came to the court carols to make, 
For there the feasting was the same for a full fifteen days 
With all the meals and the mirth that man could devise; 
Such gladness and glee glorious to hear, 
Dear din upon day, dancing on nights...

Camelot is decorated for festivities and feasting. There is a high table, and Arthur and his most celebrated guests are eating on the dais. Placed nearby are sideboards with food, and servants are bustling about. Banners of many colors hang from the walls. Trumpets, drums and pipes are being played, while voices join together in song. The noise echoes off of the walls while food is being served, so it must be enormous in size. 

Described as taking place during the Middle Ages, there is a sense of civility and elegance in the Arthurian tales.

Beowulf, however, lives during a much earlier time—a time when life was brutal, battle was a way of life, and death was always lurking close by. 

The mead hall, Heorot, is more like a medieval castle than Camelot is. It is stoutly built based on Hrothgar's specifications:

It came in his mind

to bid his henchmen a hall uprear,

a master mead-house, mightier far

than ever was seen by the sons of earth...

Wide, I heard, was the work commanded...

It fell, as he ordered,

in rapid achievement that ready it stood there,

of halls the noblest...

the rings he dealt,

treasure at banquet: there towered the hall,

high, gabled wide...

It takes the work of many men to complete the mead hall. It is built swiftly. Banquets are held, and treasure is distributed here. We can assume that the hall is rough-hewn, with wooden benches and tables, not glamorous in the least. Rather than jewel-encrusted goblets that we might imagine in Camelot, a "carven cup" is described.

However, while the cup may be carved from wood, the furniture in Heorot is decorated with gold. The hall is towering (high), and wide. Most probably the hearth dominates the room, which is where Hrothgar first greets Beowulf and his contingent of men. 

Heorot is strongly built, like a fortress. The main hall is large enough to house Beowulf's men as they sleep and wait for the monster to attack. When Grendel attacks, he rips heavy doors attached to door frames by iron hinges and moves heavy furniture that is attached to the floor. 

Wonder it was the wine-hall firm

in the strain of their struggle stood, to earth

the fair house fell not; too fast it was

within and without by its iron bands

craftily clamped; though there crashed from sill

many a mead-bench — men have told me —

gay with gold, where the grim foes wrestled.

While castles were the preferred building of the Middle Ages because of their ability to withstand attacks and long sieges, it would seem that Camelot is more a gathering place—a fantastic and romanticized structure. In it, stories are shared and knights praised. There is music and entertainment. The building does not seem to be prepared for battle: for example, the Green Knight enters easily enough.

Clearly, it is a much different place than Hrothgar's mead hall. Heorot reflects the reality of life during the Dark Ages: life was short, marauding tribes attacked without warning to seize land and power, and only the strong survived.

Both halls are large in size. Both offer camaraderie, drink, food, storytelling, music, and loud sounds of celebration. But while Camelot is the stuff of fairytales, structures like Heorot (without a Grendel-like creature) most likely existed well before medieval castles—perhaps not elegant, but finely crafted and difficult to destroy.

Further Reading:
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When you create your graphic organizer, consider using a chart or perhaps a Venn diagram.

Here is a breakdown of each of these halls:


This is the mead hall featured in the epic Beowulf.  The Danish King Hrothgar made Heorot one of the most elaborate for his time period.  It had gold and jewel inlays and was massive in size.

Then, as I have heard, the work of constructing a building

Was proclaimed to many a tribe throughout this middle earth.

In time – quickly, as such things happen among men –

It was all ready, the biggest of halls.

He whose word was law

Far and wide gave it the name ‘Heorot’.

The men did not dally; they strode inland in a group

Until they were able to discern the timbered hall,

Splendid and ornamented with gold.

The building in which that powerful man held court

Was the foremost of halls under heaven;

Its radiance shone over many lands.

The Danish noblemen used the Heorot as a place to plan their battles and to celebrate their victories.  However, when Grendel attacks, many felt that it was a punishment for Hrothgar's vanity.

In the middle of the hall was a long table.  The king sat at the head of the table and the queen at the foot.  The noblemen would then take places according to their rank and station.

During this time period, life was rough, so heavy drinking was, indeed, a way to compensate for the harshness of daily existence.  Warriors would enjoy mead and wine fully during holidays and during celebratory feasts. Banquets and feasts were the primary entertainment functions of Heorot.   Battle strategy and securty were the business functions of the hall.

Men, women and children were allowed in the mead hall, but it was primarily a place for men.


The famous hall of King Arthur, Camelot is surrounded by mythology and folklore.  It is more of a castle with several rooms than Heorot which only had one main room.

Arthur, Guinevere and the knights held court proceedings there along with feasts and celebrations, so, like Heorot, Camelot had multiple functions.

One of the most outstanding features of Camelot was its Round Table.  This type of seating allowed all members to see and hear all other members, and it removed the concept that some seats at the table were more important than others.

Many people believe that Camelot is purely fiction and instead represented the culture and values of people.  On the other hand, the mead hall is a documented truth about its time period, whether or not Heorot, as described, actually existed.


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niseydoe123 | Student

This helped alot!!!! American school british literature can be difficult!

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