Beowulf And Star Wars: Poem Analysis

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Beowulf is an epic poem written in Old English sometime around the 10th Century by an unknown author. Set in the period it was written, the poem tells the story of the title character, a great Anglo-Saxon warrior named Beowulf. Star Wars is a movie trilogy created by George Lucas and filmed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Set in space, this story depicts the struggle of many soldiers, led mainly by Luke Skywalker, against the tyranny that was the Galactic Empire. The backgrounds of these two stories are so wildly different that it seems as if they would have nothing in common. This, however, is not the case.
Whether a story takes place in 9th Century England, or a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, many of the mythological archetypes
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In literature, the hero is a larger than life character who works to benefit the other others characters in the story. The hero archetype in Beowulf is the title character himself, Beowulf. Beowulf was the most powerful of all Anglo-Saxon warriors; he used his abilities to save people from monsters, as well as rule the Geatish kingdom for roughly half a century. The character from Star Wars who best demonstrated the hero archetype was Luke Skywalker. Skywalker, a teenage farmer trained in the ways of the jedi knights, played a major role in aiding the Rebel Alliance in their efforts to defeat the tyrannical Galactic Empire. While these two characters seem very different at first, their archetypes are nearly identical. Both characters seemingly came out of nowhere to help their respective causes, with Beowulf aiding the Danes and Luke aiding the rebels. Each possessed more power than anyone, or anything, in their worlds did. Most importantly, each hero was had a task presented to him, which was considered his destiny. All of those characteristics are what make up the archetype of a hero, no matter the…show more content…
There were two main archetypes found in Star Wars that were left out of Beowulf: the temptress and the shadow. The temptress archetype is present in a character who tries to offer the hero something he/she desires in hopes to cause him/her to abandon his/her quest. Darth Sidious portrays this archetype because he attempted, in vain, to bring Luke Skywalker to join him on the dark side. This archetype was most likely absent from Beowulf because usually the temptress is portrayed by a female character who tries to seduce the male hero. Beowulf was written by a monk, who left this archetype out because lust was a sin. The other popular archetype found only in Star Wars was the shadow. The shadow is an evil character who exhibits the traits that the hero fear or dislikes about himself/herself. This archetype, present in Star Wars in the character Darth Vader, is left out of Beowulf. Unlike Luke Skywalker, Beowulf has nothing that he fears or dislikes about himself, giving no reason to include this archetype in his story.
Similar to above, there were archetypes found in Beowulf not found in Star Wars. The main archetype is that of the scapegoat. The scapegoat is a character who assumes guilt for doing something they never did, and is then punished accordingly. This archetype is portrayed in Beowulf by Grendel, who is punished for the crime that his ancestor committed.
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