Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Book Report/Review
Pages 3 (753 words)
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As two of the oldest surviving works of English literature, the anonymous poems Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are revered for their historical qualities as well as their ability to show the progression of artistic literature. While Beowulf is generally dated to the 8th century, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is thought to be a product of the 14th century (Cooner Lambden 2002).


Because of this, both use imagery, folklore and artifacts that were common or revered at the time of writing. While Beowulf brings a great deal of Norse folklore and traditional characters into the story, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight centers on the use of Irish, Gaelic and Germanic beliefs. The poems are both steeped in cultural traditions that span several modern countries; the overwhelming theme of both stories is the triumph, moral and physical, of good over evil. Good is characterized, in both cases, by a strong and able warrior; evil is characterized by destructive monsters who are determined to wreak havoc with little provocation.
Beowulf is a work named after its principle hero, a knight from a foreign kingdom who travels to help a king in need. His story is the saga of three different foes, the first two in a foreign land and the last in his own once he has been proclaimed a hero and been named king. Beowulf sets out to help his fellow men and in doing so proves himself a just citizen and a worthy knight. Because of his foreign exploits he becomes king of his own lands and in the end of the tale, is called upon to battle once more with a fierce dragon unaided by anyone but a single young brave knight. ...
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