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Beowulf: The Archetypal Hero

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Throughout the history of mankind there have been many books and stories written which preview a hero doing dangerous, epic deeds for the good of others. The same is true in the story of Beowulf, titled Beowulf. Beowulf was written by the Anglo Saxons by an unknown author. In the book Beowulf, Beowulf follows the role of the archetypal hero and fulfills it by going on epic quests to help, and save kingdoms. This is shown whenever Beowulf sets out to fight Grendel, an awful beast who is terrorizing Hrothgar’s kingdom. This is also shown whenever Beowulf ventures out to slay Grendel’s mother. And ultimately whenever Beowulf goes to fight the dragon in his final showdown. All of these pertain to Beowulf fulfilling the role of the hero in Beowulf.…show more content…
This is shown whenever Beowulf meets Hrothgar for the first time. Beowulf goes to introduce himself to the king, but Hrothgar immediately recognizes him and replies, saying he knew him when he was younger and knew his father and relatives. Hrothgar then recounts stories his men told him about Beowulf. Hrothgar states how they said Beowulf has “the strength of thirty in the grip of each hand.” (lns. 380-381) Beowulf’s epicness is also shown whenever Unferth calls him out on the swimming competition he lost when he was younger. Beowulf bounces back by telling Unferth how he was the best swimmer and he had lost because he was wearing armor and brandishing a sword. Furthermore, Beowulf tells of how he slayed nine sea monsters on the five day swim and he prevailed from every one of them just fine. These tales show how Beowulf’s past actions impressed the people around him and word of him spread to many of the surrounding…show more content…
Beowulf then goes in and begins fighting the dragon. As Beowulf sensed and how the story of the archetypal hero goes, Beowulf is fatally wounded by the dragon. Beowulf is helped by his trusted soldier Wiglaf and the dragon is defeated. Beowulf asks Wiglaf to get the treasures and show them to him before he dies. Wiglaf gets the treasures and shows them to Beowulf. Beowulf sees the treasures and it is noted that they are very old and rusty. This is the most important part in the story of the hero. Beowulf undergoes a drastic change in how he sees treasure and fame, the very things that have driven him, from the beginning, to do what he’s done. Beowulf begins sensing that life is more important than treasure and fame. Although the change is subtle to Beowulf, it is drastic in the fact that this is the groundwork of his motives. This is the final part of the archetypal hero’s quest. The hero begins to see what is truly important in life. But, as it is in Beowulf, it is usually to late. Beowulf dies and his quest is over, all that remains is his legacy.
Beowulf is centered around Beowulf and the epic deeds he accomplished. Beowulf follows the role of the archetypal hero and fulfills it by going on epic quests to help and save kingdoms. But being the hero ultimately killed Beowulf. Although Beowulf dies, it shows how honorable he was to die for his kingdom. This is just one of the many characteristics
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