Beowulf, an epic written between the 8th and 11th century was first told in Anglo-Saxton England. This epic follows a young, brave, and powerful warrior who risks his life to save and protect others. He battles monsters above, and below land, and he slays dragons. He is the strongest of all men, and never backs down from a challenge. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a romantic poem that takes place in the Arthurian period. This poem introduces King Arthur's nephew, Sir Gawain. A mighty warrior he is, Sir Gawain is challenged with an ultimate test of his faith and loyalty to the covenant. Beowulf and Sir Gawain are epic heroes, not because they fought many battles, but because they both upheld a moral and ethical integrity that has yet to be seen in their peers.
Throughout the entire epic, it is evident that Beowulf lives by a heroic code of strength, courage, and honor. Along with strength and honor, this heroic code included characteristics such as loyalty and generosity, which are all important when it comes to warrior societies. This epic takes place in a time where loyalty is one of the most important traits that a hero, or any warrior for that matter. When Beowulf is informed that the Danes are constantly being attacked by a monster known as Grendel, he takes it upon himself to travel across the sea to the land of Shieldings. It is not only for material wealth that Beowulf agrees to slay the fiend. It is loyalty, and the fact that, "There was no one else like him alive. He was the mightiest man on earth, highborn and powerful" (lines 196-198), that he agrees to challenge Grendel. Beowulf knows that he is mighty; he also knows that it is not likely that he will lose this battle. He has gone against many monsters, and has yet to lose a battle. While Beowulf is not fighting to protect his own land, he vows that he will protect the Danes because of the loyalty he has to his uncle.