Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Questions and Answers
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How are the heroes Sir Gawain (in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) and Beowulf (in Beowulf) similar and different?

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Jonathan Ryan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Beowulf’s heroism is rooted in physical violence and feats of strength. When Beowulf introduces himself to Hrothgar, he boasts of an impressive resume! Before the plot of the poem even begins, Beowulf was known for accomplishments such as defeating his enemies in battle, slaying sea monsters, and conquering ogres. In the poem, Beowulf continues to display his physical prowess by killing Grendel with his bare hands, dispatching Grendel’s mother (all the while holding his breath for hours) and killing a vicious dragon in his old age. Beowulf’s bravery in battle embodies the warrior code that served as a cultural glue that held Anglo Saxon tribes together during the Early Middle Ages.

Sir Gawain, by contrast, is no warrior. He is known for his loyalty and integrity, embodying the virtues of the Chivalric Code. As King Arthur’s nephew and a member of the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Gawain is well respected but not viewed as “hero material” by most of the court. When he...

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joymarie | Student

i have learned to love these stories because of studying literature. sir gawain and beowulf has many similarities and differences like how people are unique in their own way.id like to cite them separately

similarities:

they both belong to royal blood

they were both heroes

they were both in a quest

they won the battles

perhaps you should consult vlamidir propp's ideas on epic heroes. apparently, things that i have mentioned were all present in a hero.

differences:

beowulf uses more of his strengthwhile sir gawain uses wits.

beowulf reflects more of culture , sir gawain discusses more of moral values such as honesty and loyalty.

and so on. i hope you are satisfied with my answers and i am able to help you out. :)