Beowulf And Gawain Analysis

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Expectations for Self
Perfection has only ever been obtained by one person, and it certainly was not Beowulf or Gawain. It is funny to think that the idea of perfection is achievable, let alone try to achieve it. Beowulf’s role as the ‘perfect’ lord and Gawain’s role as the “perfect” knight are two examples where we see mortals trying to accomplish flawlessness, when flawlessness in humans is totally ludicrous. Though Beowulf’s and Gawain’s intentions are good in striving for perfection, they can never really live up to the expectations and standards they have set for themselves. Beowulf and Gawain, thwarted by their downfalls as the ideal lord and knight, are perfect in the eyes of the people, but will never be in their own eyes. Because
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Age has gotten the best of him, but nevertheless he wants to fight. Finally, he gives his last formal boast in the mead hall saying, “In boyhood I braved bitter clashes; still in old age I would seek out strife and gain glory guarding my folk if the man-bane comes from his cave to meet me” (3. 2212-2215). Rash and unflinching, he leaves to go and conquer the dragon. When he leaves he takes weapons, but they cannot save him. Knowing his strength is not enough anymore, he gives the battle his all, but he cannot survive it. Even with the help of young Wiglaf, a reflection of Beowulf’s younger self, he fails to uphold the ideal image set in his mind because he has been conquered finally by the dragon (3. 2419-2429). In the eyes of his people, though, he has been the ideal king and dies the most honorable death there…show more content…
. . for brave vows [Arthur] yearned to hear made,” but Gawain, whether out of humility or fear, maintains his knightly status and makes no formal boasts. The reason for his silence is probably because he knows that he cannot back them up. Finally, a year has passed and he must leave to find the Green Chapel, so he armors up to leave on his journey. One of his admirers says to another, “Before God, ‘tis a shame that thou, lord, must be lost, who art in life so noble!”(2. 674-675). The onlooker’s comment shows us that the people adored him and thought it unnecessary for Gawain to give up his life. It also proves to us that Gawain was, indeed, an ideal knight from the prospective of the people. He wants to honor his agreement even if he must sacrifice himself to do so.
On his journey he makes another agreement with a king that lets Gawain lodge with him. The king says, “. . . we’ll make an agreement: whatever I win in the wood at once it shall be yours, and whatever gain you may get you shall give in exchange” (2. 1106-1108 ). Gawain upholds his reputation as the perfect knight by accepting the king’s offer and participating in

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