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Beowulf: The Perfect Hero

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The Perfect Hero In every heroic tale, there lies a theme of balance in values. Every hero is said to possess a fatal flaw; whether they overcome this flaw or let it define who they are is up to them. In the epic poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, it is not particularly hard for the reader to point out their perceived flaws of our hero: arrogance, pride, egotism. Yet, Beowulf stands tall in the poem as the perfect hero, adored and praised by all. Why is it that the modern day reader can so easily decide what makes a hero imperfect? Can a hero ever be perfect at all? Well, the difference is in the time period and the cultures. While it can be argued that Beowulf is perfect, or that Beowulf is flawed, the matter remains subjective depending…show more content…
Every culture, every time period, will find a flaw in every hero: Beowulf is no exception. To an Anglo-Saxon of the time period, Beowulf is the perfect hero, without a doubt. He is a shining example for his people to live by. A life lead by ambition and driven by the desire to protect, Beowulf?s story is one to be acknowledged. In terms of subjectivity, Beowulf has human flaws that can be said to have led to his downfall, but he is also the perfect hero who exhibits only the proper values of an Anglo-Saxon warrior. The scop who wrote this story depicted Beowulf in only a positive intended light, as this epic is meant to be the warrior?s story retold, highlighting their great feats and accomplishments. This being said, a hero to the Anglo-Saxons only had faults if they were unfaithful to their people or greedy, and Beowulf displays none of these qualities. Beowulf only acts in accordance to what he feels would be best for his people, his altruism exceeding those before him, and setting a precedent that no other could reach. While it is possible to interpret Beowulf as a hero with faults, he was not originally meant to be depicted that way. Beowulf is the exception to the idea that all humans have their
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