Archetype In Beowulf

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Beowulf is extraordinary. The name sake and hero archetype of the epic poem Beowulf, transcends what it means to be a king reaching the title of hero and champion of the people. When he first is described in line 196 of the epic, the writer says,“There was no one else like him alive. In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, high-born and powerful.” Beowulf will always be the time’s mightiest hero, whether he is king or not. However when pondering if Beowulf himself, would rather be a hero or a king, the answer would be the former. Beowulf would rather be the legend of the people than a leader who has power over them. Being a man of action, he would rather save people then rule them. Beowulf’s primary focus in the epic is obtaining glory…show more content…
In lines 2369-2376, upon the death of king Hygelac, Beowulf is offered the throne, but the poem says, “ …there was no way the weakened nation could get Beowulf to give in and agree to be elevated over Heardred as his lord or to take office of his kingship.” Instead Beowulf continued to support the Crown without carrying the responsibilities that comes with it. When Heardred dies, Beowulf is forced to step into the role of a heroic king, rather than a warrior. His transition from warrior to king, and, in particular, his final battle with the dragon, kings show the contrast between the duties of a heroic warrior and those of a heroic king. While Beowulf is a great and respected king, he is questionably too much of a hero. As a king, Beowulf must learn not only to think in the now but to plan for the extensive future for not just himself but for his entire race. In the eyes of several of the Geats, Beowulf’s dauntless encounter with the dragon is morally questionable because it dooms them to a kingless state in which they remain vulnerable to attack by their enemies. He throws consequence out the door and reverts to being the hero. But since all of these kings were great warriors in their youth, the tension between these two important roles seems inevitable and ultimately irreconcilable. Fame was worth the…show more content…
The greatest thing one could accomplish is to live forever on the backs of their own reputation. Instead of living by the modern motto for fame, “any publicity is good publicity”, the heroes in the epic strive for total excellence. Instead of striving for dignity, the focus of the modern world is unquestionably money. The dragon does a great job of representing the vanity of human wishes today as well as the mutability of time. The dragon's barrow holds wealth in abundance, yet the wealth is of no use to anyone. Just as the dead warriors cannot use the treasure, neither can the dragon. He devotes his life to guarding a treasure that he frankly has no use for. The treasure, in the end, is of no consequence. It is buried with the dead
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