Throughout time our concept of heroes has changed dramatically. Even in the recent past heroes have gone from comic book characters such as spider man or superman, to the men and women who risked their lives on September 11th. In comparison, it is also clear how the concept of heroes changed from the time of Beowulf, possibly written as early as 1100 AD, to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, composed around 1400 AD. Though both considered heroes, Beowulf and Sir Gawain are drastically different characters in personality, ability, and perspective. The similarities are few; each performs deeds for which they gain fame and honor, and each is seen, in their own respects, as a model of virtue. It is evident through their many differences how the concept of heroism changes from the time of Beowulf to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Beowulf is a hero who is very sure of his abilities. This is clear when Beowulf is about to battle Grendel because he says,.
When it comes to fighting, I count myself as dangerous any day as Grendel. So it wont be a cutting edge I"ll wield to mow him down, easily as I might. He has no idea of the arts of war, of shield or sword-play, although he does posses a wild strength. No weapons, therefore, for either this night: unarmed he shall face me if face me he dares. (46).
It is obvious here that Beowulf is confident in his ability to fight as well as his strength. Many great men have tried to defeat Grendel and have failed for many years until Beowulf fights him. Even though he knows how dangerous Grendel is, he still wishes to .
make the battle a fair fight, so he decides to battle unarmed like Grendel. When he decides to make the fight fair by battling unarmed, Beowulf also shows his bravery.
Beowulf's bravery could not be matched by any other at his time, for he was willing to fight even when he knew it would cost him his own life. When fighting the fire-breathing dragon, the dragon ".