Beowulf Epic Hero

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Petroleum Jelly’s the Wrong Kind for Sandwiches Stories are evolutions of thought, the product of every moment preceding its inception, the collective human consciousness. This progression of ideas and standards is prevalent throughout all recorded literature, but three pieces, Beowulf edited by M.A Roberts, Dante’s Inferno written by Dante Alighieri and Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, more specifically the hero’s epic hero cycles of Beowulf, Dante and Theseus within, are perfect representatives of this phenomenon. These pieces dispute the definition an epic hero drawing inspiration from their respective time periods, while remaining constant on the base aspects of the epic hero’s journey. The first lens of comparison that can be tuned unto these…show more content…
In the story of Beowulf which materialized and evolved through the hands of Christians, as is obvious by the abundance of biblical allusions present in today’s version of Beowulf. Even as Jesus’s primary motive was not purely to achieve glory, unlike Beowulf, still Jesus sought to spread his influence and to be remembered. “All the princes sat mourning and full of sorrow”(Roberts 91), Beowulf’s princes are closely related to Jesus’s disciples who also deeply mourned Jesus’s deaths. Beowulf receives his restitution in remembrance, as with Jesus, it was his root motivation to perform his miraculous tasks. Chronologically penultimate is Theseus’s restitution. Theseus 's restitution is minimal compared to that of Hercules being made a god and most other epic heroes residing in this genre. "Even if the Athenians did banish him, very soon after his death they honored him as no other mortal" (Hamilton 223). Being a meager and rather indirect compensation, in light of his overall just deeds, it correlates perfectly with the Athenians view of humility and other virtues traits over that of pure strength. Lastly, in Dante’s restitution there proves to be an inconceivable amount of influence drawn from the time that preceded. “And the beauteous shining of heavenly cars. We walked out once more beneath the stars.” (Alighieri, 283). Although it is never explicitly stated at the end of the inferno it is completely…show more content…
To start, as is chronologically proper, Beowulf. In Christianity there is one core protagonist, God, who is impervious to all evil, this translates to Beowulf’s character, being nearly impeccable. Even in the main instance in which his hubris is exposed, the character, Unferth, who does such is quickly shunted and never returns. Unferth states: “For he always begrudged other men who might achieve more fame under heaven than he himself”(Roberts 27). This weak and unsustained attempt to stain Beowulf might at one point have been a much more substantial and an ongoing theme present throughout, if not for the story’s sequent evolution. This concurs with Jesus’s flaws being scarcely surfaced in the Bible. Next, Theseus who as with all heroes’ hubris brings about Theseus’s downfall. “Her letter outweighs any words he could speak. Go. You are an exile from this land. Go to your ruin and at once”(Hamilton 221). Theseus exiles his son in response to a letter left by his mad, suicidal, wife stating that Hippolytus had killed her. This letter is at once accepted as the truth as Theseus swiftly denies all Hippolytus pleas of innocence, exiling him. This brash and immediate judgment, unwavered by his son’s rebuttal, can be traced to pride. On initial glance, it seems pride did not hinder his verdict; instead, it was merely his view of his wife as a more credible source. Instead, since he valued his own opinion of their

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