What defines an epic poem is the hero portrayed in the poem, the great odds that he overcomes, and the deeds that he accomplishes. Characters in such epics as Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Morte d" Arthur possess the qualities that define the ideal hero of that time. After reading these medieval epics I have found similar, as well as distinct traits among the legendary heroes presented in the stories. I have not only learned of the qualities of a medieval hero, but also other elements of medieval epics such as Medieval Romance and the Code of Chivalry. .
The medieval heroes Beowulf, Sir Gawain, and Sir Lucan possess similar character traits. They can all be associated with one another because of the common quality of loyalty displayed in their characters. In the epic of Beowulf, Beowulf expresses that he is loyal to his fellow Geats when he asks Hrothgar to watch over them if he is defeated by Grendel. In the story Beowulf says, "And if your enemy should end my life then be, oh generous prince, forever the father and protector of all whom I leave behind me here in your hands, my beloved comrades left with no leader". Like Beowulf, in the epic of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Gawain exhibits his loyalty to his king by stepping up and accepting the challenge that the Green Knight proposes, knowing he is the weakest and the most dim-witted of King Arthur's knights. Sir Gawain asks for King Arthur's permission to defend him by being put to the Green Knight's test when he says, " I am the weakest, well I know, and of wit feeblest, and the loss of my life would be least of any; that I have for you uncle is my only praise; my body, but for your blood, is barren of worth; and for his folly befits not a king, and "tis that I have asked it, it ought to be mine". Comparable to both Beowulf and Sir Gawain, Sir Lucan from Morte d" Arthur, demonstrates his loyalty to his king when he loses his life defending King Arthur against Sir Mordred and his army.