Epic poem Beowulf against Romance Sir Gawain
These two genres have different characteristics of how the story is supposed to unfold, and focusing on how the supernatural plays apart of that is where the difference of this theme is shown. Beowulf is an epic poem in which it focuses on a significant event featuring a hero’s deeds. There are actions that take place that involve superhuman deeds in battle, which are usually done by the gods and other supernatural beings. The heroes in these types of poems have to overcome various hardships to fulfill the qualities of what everyone thinks a hero should represent.
In Beowulf, he has to fight against three supernatural antagonists to do Just that. By fighting Grenade, the creature that is a demon of God, is to prove to the Danes that he can fulfill the Job that he came over to do, “Then a powerful demon, prowler through the dark, / nursed a hard grievance. It harrowed him/ to hear the din of the loud banquet/ every day in the hall, the harp being struck / and the clear song of a skilled poet/ telling with mastery of man’s beginnings,” (86-91).
Grenade’s mother is another supernatural being Beowulf fights as part of being the hero this epic is focusing on, “l have heard it said by my people in hall, / counselors who live in the upland country,] that they have seen two such creatures/ prowling the moors, huge marauders/ from some other world. One of these things,] as far as anyone ever an discern,] looks like a woman; the other warped/ in the shape of a man, moves beyond the pale/ bigger than any man, and unnatural birth/ called Grenade by country people/ in former days.
They are fatherless creatures/ and their whole ancestry is hidden in a past/ of demons and ghosts,” (1345-1357). Grenade’s mother attacks the mead-hall, Horror, to kill Beowulf as an act of motherhood. Beowulf fights the last battle of this epic, fifty years later, with the supernatural dragon, “When he comes to me/ I mean to stand, not run from his shooting/ Flames, stand till fate decides/ Which of us wins. My heart is firm, / My hands calm: I need no hot/ Words,” (2324-2710).
This fight is a real act of heroism because this was not even his battle to fight; a slave awoke the dragon and angers it by stealing a Jeweled cup from its lair. Beowulf fights the dragon because that’s what heroes are supposed to do, and by fighting, it proves that he can follow that part; along with all the other battles he faces. Because this is an epic poem, it focuses on the obstacles Beowulf has to overcome to portray the part of being a hero; going to battle with supernatural creatures is part of that.
A lot of people think that a romance is a love story, but it’s not. On Clientèles. Com, it says, “A romance is a tale of adventure involving knights on a quest, and elements of fantasy and magic are always present. Typically, a romance story begins at a noble court, where the knights receive a challenge before setting out on a Journey to accomplish their task. The knights travel far from home, encountering terrible hardships and doing battle with their enemies before achieving their goal and returning to the court to tell their stories. Sir Gain and the Green Knight is exactly that. The elements of fantasy and magic, that are always present in a romance, is shown through the supernatural beings Gain faces on his quest to the Green Chapel, “There were stares on all sides as the stranger spoke, / For much did they marvel what it might mean / That a horseman and a horse should have such a hue, / Grow green as the grass, and greener, it seemed, / Than green fused on gold more glorious by far, / … For many sights they had seen, but such a one never, / …
And stunned at his strong words stone-still they sat / In a swooning silence in the stately hall,” (232-243, 9). The Green Knight, who is something magical, comes to Urethra’s Court in the beginning to propose a challenge to the king, and Gain steps up to take part in the challenge instead, “For the head in his hand he holds right up; / And it lifted its lids, and looked with wide eyes, / And said as much with its mouth as now you may hear; / “Sir Gain, forget not to go as agree, / …
As you promised in the presence of these proud knights. / … Such a blow as you bestowed – you deserve, beyond doubt, / A knock on your neck next New Year’s morn,” (444-453, 14). Gain chops off the Green Knight’s head, and the knight holds his head while it speaks attached from his body. By this happening, it proves that the supernatural acts as a factor of the romance genre, where it begins at a noble court where the knights receive a challenge.
Gain goes on a quest where he encounters many obstacles that involve battling supernatural creatures, “Now with serpents he wars, now with savage wolves, / Now with wild men of the woods, that watched from the rocks, / Both with bulls and with bears, and with boars besides, / And giants that came gibbering from the Jagged steeps. / … He had met with many mishaps and mortal harms,” (720-725, 21). In this quote, he encounters numerous supernatural beings while traveling far from home before achieving the goal he set out for.
This proves it is a romance and that the supernatural is a huge aspect. At the end off romance, the knights return home to the court to tell their stories, “This is the blazon of the blemish that I bear on my neck; / This is the sign of the sore loss that I have suffered there / … This is the badge of false faith that I was found in there, / And I must beat it on my body till I breathe my last,” (2506-2510, 63). Gain returns home and tells the court the story of the supernatural object, the green girdle, which he received from the kings lady.
Therefore, the theme of the supernatural takes place during Gain receiving a challenge, setting off on a quest, and returning home to the court to tell his story; all of which is how a romance is supposed to play out. In conclusion, the supernatural theme was apart of both poems, but the way it was approached due to the different genres is what makes the theme different between the two. The theme is approached during Beowulf portraying heroic deeds by battling supernatural beings. Gain is approached by the supernatural theme during his quest to finish a challenge he was proposed in the beginning of the poem.