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Beowulf and Green Knight

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kaylahinojosa
Words 1048
Pages 5
Kayla Hinojosa
English 2321
Short Paper (3/20)
April 4, 2013
“Cultural values defined in ‘Beowulf’ and ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ ”
The cultural values depicted in “Beowulf” and “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” are those of courage, honor, strength and humility among many others. Now, while exploring the ethos of the cultures in these pieces of literature the reader can deduce that each value means something different. What defines courage (and other values) in “Beowulf” differs from the definition of courage in “Sir Gawain” in many ways including the struggles Beowulf himself faced with Grendel, in “Sir Gawain” with the encounter with the lord’s wife, among other events in both poems. To begin with, in “Beowulf” these values are defined through the heroic code, which was held in the Anglo-Saxon culture in which this poem takes place. Beowulf himself is the definition of a “hero”, exemplifying values such as courage and strength. For example, one challenge that Beowulf held was the battle with Grendel. He shows exceptional strength when he is able to rip of Grendel’s arm which we see in the text itself, "The monster's whole body was in pain; a tremendous wound appeared on his shoulder. Sinews split and the bone-lapping’s burst. Beowulf was granted the glory of winning". The ability to cause so much physical pain to a giant monster shows just how powerful and strong Beowulf is. Strength here is sort of defined as physical power and ability rather than spiritual strength and what not.
Courage, for example in Beowulf is also defined in this segment of the poem. Beowulf, shows his fearlessness when he wanders into the cave which is completely dark, and when he fights as he’s pretty much laying on the floor dying. Courage here is interpreted as fearlessness, as daring, as lionhearted, and is one of Beowulf’s (character) most defining characteristics and...

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