Assignment: Write an essay of approximately 3 pages (800-1000 words) offering both a central argument and supporting evidence for a topic of your choice, drawn from either Beowulf or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Drafts of the essay must be brought to class 16 (September 26 & 27) for peer review. Revised essays are due in class and to turnitin.com for class 17 (September 30 & October 1).
Notes: Use parenthetical citation by line number (since both are poems, this is the correct standard) from the Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage translations.
See this document for further notes on formatting and style.
1. If the epic poem “portrays the central beliefs and values of the society,” what can we infer about the beliefs of Anglo-Saxon society from reading Beowulf?
2. Compare the characters of Wealtheow and Lady Bertilak. How do the two poems differ in the presentation of their most significant women characters?
3. What do Sir Gawain’s reactions to Lady Bertilak’s advances tell us about his character? Look closely; there may be more here than meets the eye.
4. Evaluate the character of the Green Knight. What does he stand for? Is he a force for good or evil?
5. Take a topic or idea from our class discussion and develop it in greater depth and detail, showing how the text supports your position.
Finally, if you consult any outside sources, be scrupulous in citing them fully and correctly. It’s very easy to commit plagiarism after “looking for ideas” on the internet. Please don’t let that happen to you.