Motvations Essay

1026 WordsMar 23, 20095 Pages
In life, all people have their motivations. Good or bad, right or wrong, everyone is driven by them. Such an important part of human existence inevitably became an important part of literature; characters are driven to great lengths for a multitude of reasons. Three excellent examples of this are the stories Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Morte d’ Arthur. In each of these stories, the main character has a distinct motivation, some even changing within the same story. In Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon hero of the same name is compelled to great adventures by his longing for fame. In the Arthurian legend Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the knight Gawain is first motivated to take a challenge from the Green Knight by his ideal of honor, but when the deal turns on him his every action become focused on finding a way to save his life. In Morte d’ Arthur, King Arthur seeks to preserve his own life from the terrible fate he is told in a dream. The characters in these stories each have specific motivations compelling them. Beowulf, from the epic poem of the same name, is driven to take on great feats by his desire for fame. When faced by the mother of a demon he has slain, he is beaten back by her and begins to lose their battle. She is all but impervious to his attacks, “But Beowulf longed only for fame, [and] leaped back into battle,” (Beowulf 37). He is willing to go up against nearly impossible odds just so he can gain glory and renown. If he is willing to go to such lengths for it, his main motivation must be fame. Earlier, when facing a fierce demon named Grendel, Beowulf declares that “ ‘My hands alone shall fight for me…’” (Beowulf 28). Just to impress his onlookers, he makes such a dangerous boast as to say he will kill a powerful demon with his bare hands. He intentionally puts himself at a disadvantage just to impress people. Obviously, Beowulf’s

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