Throughout history. different civilizations have held different virtuousnesss in the highest respect. The Anglo-Saxons. like the anon. scop of the verse form Beowulf. valued strength and bravery over any other quality. On the other manus. the earliest English people. like the poet of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. respected award and the basic codifications of gallantry over all else. Both Beowulf and Sir Gawain. therefore. expose the most favorite qualities of their people: Beowulf by get the better ofing monsters. executing great efforts of bravery. and stating of his workss ; Gawain by being loyal. brave. and honest. Both sets of qualities are displayed throughout each narrative.
In Beowulf. written in about the 4th century AD. the hero’s foremost major trial is to contend a immense monster. In making so. he proves his physical abilities. and therefore set up his hero/ leader position. To be the best. you have to be the strongest. and he says “Fate saves/ the life when they drive off decease by themselves! ” ( 572-73 ) . demoing how much Beowulf relies on his physical strength. On the other manus. Gawain’s first trial is non physical. but psychological. He is forced to turn out his trueness to Arthur. by offering his life to the Green Knight.
He does non claim to be the best. or the strongest. and in fact claims: “I am the weakest. I am aware” ( portion 16 ) . Gawain is exposing his modestness. and the mediaeval belief that a individual should be low about himself. This displays the immediate difference between the two civilizations. For the Anglo-Saxons. if you wanted people to cognize you’re a hero. you tell them you’re a hero. For Gawain. and the Knights of the Round Table. they must move humbler. in order to appeal to their Christian beliefs.
However. both societies do necessitate their heroes to expose some similar traits. the most common being bravery. Gawain must demo how brave he is by doing a long and hard journey to carry through his curse. and dice at the custodies of the Green Knight. Beowulf must demo his bravery by contending off big monsters. even to the last twenty-four hours of his life. “Why should I be dismayed? /Of day of reckoning the carnival or drear/ by a adult male must be assayed” ( 24 ) shows how Gawain believes a hero should carry on himself. with self-respect and award. He does non believe that traveling to his decease will be such a bad thing. since it will let him to maintain his award intact. This sounds really similar to “Let me unrecorded in greatness/ and bravery. or here in this hall welcome my decease. ” Beowulf’s construct of courage. Beowulf believes that either he is traveling to win. and kill Grendel. or Grendel will win and kill him. Either manner. it is up to wyrd. his Destiny. The resemblance continues with the subject of generousness.
Both try their really hardest to non merely maintain all their earned wealth ( or miss thereof ) to themselves. Beowulf. upon having heaping hoarded wealths from Hrothgar. quickly dispenses it among his work forces. He even “rewarded the boat’s watchman/ who had stayed behind. with a blade that had hammered/ gold lesion on its grip. ” ( 1901-03 ) demoing how he treats all his work forces as peers. The watchman’s occupation. to him. was merely every bit of import as all the other warriors that really traveled with him. Similarly. Sir Gawain tells the Godhead of the house that he appreciated the cordial reception of the host by noting “I would give you some guerdon lief. were I able” ( 82 ) instantly before going. He says this to demo the host his graciousness. but besides displays his generousness. exposing the similarities between the two civilizations.
Finally. each has an opposite position of their importance in society. Beowulf believes that the best thing person can make is become the most celebrated. and to hold your name live on forever. “Fame after death/ is the noblest of goals” ( lines 1388-89 ) . For him to decease in conflict is the individual most of import thing he can make. to guarantee he lives on in fable. On the other manus. Gawain thinks that he must make his portion. and better the whole of Camelot. “Since this matter is so foolish that it nowise befits you. ” ( portion 16 ) says that Gawain is willing to give his ain life to salvage his male monarch. He thinks he is the least of the Knights. and the most incidental of them. and hence the best campaigner. Furthermore. “I would fainer autumn dead than fail in my errand” ( 42 ) shows his dedication to the undertaking he set out for. The two characters are in blunt contrast between their constructs of dignity.
As you can see. the Anglo-Saxon and early English people held widely changing impressions of what a hero/ leader figure should be. For the anon. scop that wrote Beowulf. conflict. glorification. and celebrity were paramount ; to the unknown vocalist of Sir Gawain. award. honestness. and trueness to one’s state had top precedence.