Sir Gawains: The Role Of Monsters In British Literature

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A: In British literature, monsters are used as a tool for what the people of the Middle Ages believed they were supposed to do and created these monsters to be portrayed as something “bad” towards humanity. All of the monsters mentioned do share a few common characteristics of what they were supposed to do in British literature. To start, the monsters all inhabit some space outside of the realm of human civilization because they cannot or don’t want to be a part of the human world due to how different they are. Some monsters serve a purpose as being a part of a hero’s journey, such as the Giants and Serpents in the Wilderness of Wirral, which, when Gawain fighting monsters on his journey makes him look more like a knight. Some monsters possess…show more content…
One extreme shows that there are males who hold more feminine qualities than expected. An example would be Lanval who, although a knight, possesses a passive nature. In the story, he is rather submissive by deciding to leave Arthur’s court after he is not rewarded for his service. As feminine, Lanval is submissive to the Fairy Queen and her desires, and, after the accusation of seducing Guinevere, he becomes this helpless “damsel” as he sat in prison wishing to see his lady one last time before his death. In the end, he is actually the one to be “rescued” and sits behind rather than in front of Fairy Queen when they climb on her horse when they leave for Avalon. On the other extreme, there are males who possess the masculine qualities that are deemed to be acceptable, such as Beowulf. Beowulf is a perfect example of a man who fits the meaning of “masculine”, which he defines through his actions. Compared to Lanval, Beowulf is a leader, for he leads the Geats (and later becomes ruler of Heorot) and also speaks up for himself, such as when he explains to the herald that he’s come to see Hrothgar and solve his problem. Beowulf doesn’t walk away from a situation, but is courageous and takes any situation hands on by fighting Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the Dragon; the fact that he fights monsters is referred to as both knightly and masculine behavior. Lastly, Beowulf receives honor and respect, and becomes a memorable hero as a reward for being masculine. By comparing both Lanval and Beowulf, the literature shows us that it’s great for a man to possess masculine qualities because it suitable for men to behave in such ways, and provides great rewards for men such as bravery, honor, and being remembered. Masculinity was probably demonstrated as these two extremes to possibly show what was and wasn’t acceptable for a man to

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