Archetypal Heroes And Outcasts In Beowulf

1139 Words5 Pages
Beowulf contains many different archetypal characters developing the plot. The hero and the outcast are two of those characters essential to the development of the story. The archetypal hero is a figure known to be larger than life. The hero strives his/her entire life for self-fulfillment which results in his/her own death or destruction. The outcast is a character who is physically separated from society due to a physical impairment or an emotional difference. Often, the hero can become an outcast during his/her journey. Nevertheless, the hero is typically an enemy of the outcast. In Beowulf, this situation stands true as Beowulf, the hero, has the outcasts, Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon, as enemies. Even though the hero and outcasts…show more content…
Archetypal outcasts are those separated from society due to physical or emotional impairment. Nevertheless, Beowulf is presented as an archetypal hero, but he is also presented as an outcast. In his quests to find self-fulfillment, Beowulf is often left alone in a battle. He has to battle by himself, as a loner, to obtain glory. While fighting Grendel, Beowulf’s men stood beside him, but when the time came to defeat Grendel, Beowulf had to complete this task on his own. Moreover, while fighting Grendel’s mother, Beowulf was sent into the marsh alone to dual with her. He was nearly killed in the process, but was able to overcome Grendel’s mother’s power. In his final battle, Beowulf was abandoned in the fight with the dragon. All but one of his men abandoned him during the fight with the dragon. In this fight, the outcast was unable to win alone. Thus, even though Beowulf is portrayed as a hero, he is an outcast during some of his…show more content…
Grendel corresponds with the definition of an outcast because he physically appears different than the Dane people. Grendel has gleaming eyes, scaly skin, and claws on his hands. Along with a physical difference, Grendel is also separated due to actions his ancestors completed. Accordingly, this makes Grendel unique because not only is he the outcast, but he acts as the scapegoat-- an innocent character who gets blamed. Grendel lives his life outside of Heorot. He spends his time watching and listening to the people celebrating in the mead hall. Living alone and not allowed to participate in any of the activities causes Grendel to become bitter and evil. The outcast turns into the enemy of the Hero because he/she lashes out due to the pain he/she has

More about Archetypal Heroes And Outcasts In Beowulf

Open Document