Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Pearl-Poet

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In what ways can the characters of Beowulf and Sir Gawain be compared and contrasted? 

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Christopher Jerde eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Both Beowulf and Gawain are heroic figures representative of the dominant values of the cultures that created them, in this case, that of the early medieval Anglo-Saxons and later medieval England.

There are a few values both of these cultures cherished. Courage is the biggest one. Beowulf demonstrates courage through his battles with monsters. He is never afraid to die in battle and does eventually die to save his people from a dragon. Gawain actually fails to be courageous when he seeks to save his life by wearing the alleged magic girdle as he faces down the Green Knight. By failing to display courage, he comes to realize the value of being brave as a part of knightly honor.

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