Defining the Hero in Literature Comparison Essay

Defining the Hero in Literature
A review and comparison of the definitions of heroism in Beowulf, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Le Morte D' Arthur".
# 153621 | 1,037 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Jul 22, 2013 in Literature (General)

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This paper examines the stories of Beowulf, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Le Morte D' Arthur" to compare the attributes of the heroes in each of these stories. The paper points out the differences between the heroes in these different time periods but also finds that they share the same general characteristics of being strong, courageous, and loyal individuals.

From the Paper:

"The first text that contributes a hero is Beowulf. Beowulf is a poem that identifies the protagonist of the story as a hero. He displays various characteristics that help the reader classify him as a hero. The first characteristic Beowulf displays is strength. Beowulf displays the strength of a God. He displays this characteristic multiple times throughout the story. One instance that revealed his strength is the altercation with Grendel. Beowulf defeated the monster with his bare hands. (Mitchell) He even rips the arm off of the monster with ease. This is illustrated in the lines that reads "The monster's whole body was in pain; a tremendous wound appeared on his shoulder. Sinews split and the bone-lappings burst. Beowulf was granted the glory of winning." (Mitchell)
"The next characteristic of heroism Beowulf displays is courage. This trait is also displayed multiple times throughout the story. It took a great deal of courage to fight the monster when no one else would. It also took an enormous amount of courage to fight the dragon single handed. Beowulf had the option of raising an army to fight the dragon, but insisted on fighting the beast alone. (Mitchell) His courage is further demonstrated when he ventures into the dark cave to defeat Grendel's mother. This is a definite display of his courage."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Malory, Thomas. Le morte d'Arthur. Digireads. com Publishing, 2010.
  • Mitchell, Bruce, and Fred C. Robinson. Beowulf: an edition. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.
  • Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics. Vol. 18. London, 1936.
  • Stone, Brian, ed. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Vol. 92. Penguin, 1974.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

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