romance and folklore was prevalent, while Beowulf lived in the times when the Anglo-Saxons migrated, hence the narrators visions both differed from what they believed constituted a true hero.
"Beowulf" written as an epic poem, dictates the idea of a hero as someone who is viewed as a savior to his people. Beowulf has one duty: he must fight to win. If he succeeds, he is a hero, if he fails he would be viewed a failure. The narrator illustrates a hero as a loyal, honorable, and courageous person, all of which Beowulf exemplifies. Beowulf risks his life countless times for immortal glory and for the good of his people.
Beowulfs ability to put his people before himself, mark him honorable.
He encounters hideous monsters and the most ferocious of beasts, but never fears the threat of death. His power surmounts twenty men in one arm alone, additionally his leadership qualities make him a superb hero in the eyes of his fellow men. For example, when Beowulf is fighting Grendels mother, who is seeking revenge on her sons death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monsters neck with a Giants sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall. This strength is a key trait of Beowulf's heroism.
His loyalty and the ability to think of himself last, allows all to view him with the utmost respect. Beowulf ventured out to help the Danes with complete sincerity, an unusual occurrence in the time of war and widespread fear. He set a noble example for all humans relaying the necessity of brotherhood and friendship. His loyal and courageous attributes are what set him apart from someone who can merely kill a monster. In the final line, the narrator clearly acknowledges Beowulfs true kingship, "They said that he was of world-kings the mildest of men and the gentlest, kindest to his people, and most eager for fame."
Beowulfs ability to put his peoples welfare before his own exemplifies his strong belief in fate.
His belief is, if he dies in battle it is because his destiny was to do so. He always explains his death wishes before going into battle and requests to have any assets delivered to his people. "And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac, return the inheritance I had from Hrehtel, and from Wayland."
Beowulf is aware he will be glorified in life or death for his actions. He knows that when he fights an enemy like Grendel or Grendels mother he will achieve immortality as the victor or the loser.
Even with the enormous amount of confidence Beowulf possesses, he understands fate will work its magic and he could be killed at any point in his life. He faces reality by showing no fear and preparing for a positive or fatal outcome. Stated by Beowulf in the text, "Fate will unwind as it must!" In this line he realizes the dangers of battle, but fears nothing for his own life.
In comparison the narrator in "Sir Gawain and The Green Knight" links heroism to chivalry, which includes bravery, honor and courtesy. Sir Gawain shows his bravery by shying away from nothing and no one. He proves his honor and courtesy to everyone he meets by showing respect to all whether or not he receives it back.
He in the end proves he is a "true" Knight.
In medieval England the idea of fighting for others survival was no longer the primary focus, instead the hero fought for his own ideals, which is evident in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Yet a romantic hero can be described almost as an epic one; he is loyal, honorable and courageous. The knight, however, must possess courtly skills and be careful not to be led into temptation by ulterior motives. His task can be looked upon, perhaps, as spiritual rather than physical, as shown in Beowulf, because Gawains setting implies a state of peace and harmony.