The epic poem Beowulf was written in Old English by an unknown author in England during the eighth or ninth century. It takes place in Scandinavia during the beginning of the sixth century and illustrates the idea of a traditional Anglo-Saxton hero. Beowulf is a god-like hero who courageously sets out to defeat the monster Grendel as a way to repay his father’s debt, and increases his heroic status by conquering Grendel’s mother and the dragon. Reputation and a person’s lineage are themes used throughout the poem to describe where kings, thanes, and monsters came from. Because Beowulf’s father had already tainted the family name, along with the loss of his swimming match against Breca, Beowulf felt the need to undo his father’s damage to his
Beowulf is an epic poem about a brave heroic man that comes and helps a king get rid a monster. An epic poem is a story about someone who has heroic like ideas in a society. Beowulf is a story that was sung by the bards and scops because that would be the only thing that will be passed on even after his death. It was written by the Anglo-Saxons, who did not believe in the afterlife, unlike Christianity. So the warrior would have to do something that would let his memory be passed on.
Michael Shermer, a science writer and historian of science said, “Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.” In J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, the main protagonist, joins a group of dwarves to recover their lost, forgotten gold from Smaug the dragon. Joseph Campbell’s A Hero with a Thousand Faces, he states that many legendary heros follow a pattern in their adventures. Matthew Winkler has his own ideas of the heroic quest pattern, stating the hero's follow a pattern of eleven stages. Both The Hobbit and the heroic journey have similar elements with departure, initiation and then return.
Tolkien creates a mythic world full of allusion and conflict to illustrate the theme of good vs evil that has fascinated many generations of readers. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. When his father died his mother decided to move him and his sister to Birmingham,
Fatalism is a significant theme in the poem, and is present even in the commencement of Beowulf’s epic hero journey. His first trial is his battle against the demon, Grendel. However, the outcome has already been decided, as seen when he and his men are preparing for the fight and, “They knew too well the way it was before,/ how often the Danes had fallen prey/ to death in the mead-hall. But the Lord was weaving/ a victory on His war-loom for the Weather-Geats/…they would crush their enemy and come through/ in triumph and gladness” (Beowulf 694-700). After arriving to Heorot Hall, Beowulf must face Grendel, the first trial of his hero cycle.
Knights were not only supposed to have strength to defeat the enemy, but they were supposed to provide bravery. In the story, “The Green Knight,” translated by Marie Borroff, the green knight shows up to challenge Arthur. He says, “This ax that is heavy enough, to handles as he likes, And I shall bide him the first blow, as bare as I sit.” With that being said, Arthur stands up, however, before he can speak Gawain stands up to volunteer. Being that he knows that the same will happen to him in one year, he risks it, to save Arthur.
There are three mini-hero journeys Beowulf’s main journey. In the beginning, Beowulf follows his first journey with Grendel. The initial call to adventure is with the news of Grendel. One piece of evidence to support this is: “‘Then news of Grendel, / hard to ignore, reached me at home: / sailors brought stories of the plight you suffer / in this legendary hall…
When Herot was put under the darkness of its own devious monster, Beowulf, the bravest warrior of all, came to the rescue. Throughout this poem Beowulf exemplifies his courage and strength by risking his own life to protect the town from evil and to return happiness and joy to the land. With God and his warriors by his side, Beowulf shows that good always triumphs over evil. The strong, brave, and courageous Beowulf could not be trounced, for he had God’s love and good will in his heart. Beowulf and his comrades voyage across the sea, from Geatland, to the Danish shores, in quest of Hrothgar, king of Herot.
In the epic poem, Beowulf, the poem’s namesake tells us that, “And only one of them remained, stood there, miserable, remembering, as a good man must, what kinship should mean”. (lines 694-696). We all have probably had a friend that may not always be there when we wanted them to be but when we truly needed help and no one was around but the person that we least expected was there. This happened to Beowulf too. This is how the main events of Beowulf go, in order.
In the epic story the Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus is returning from the Trojan war, and on his way home he finds many obstacles ahead of him. Odysseus is the ruler of Ithaca and he is trying to return home to his land. Many creatures try and stop him from achieving his goal of returning home, but he and his crew have to push through and get home. Odysseus portrays bravery and courage leading his crew through these tough challenges. Odysseus heroically leads his crew and himself through dangerous obstacles, but also foolishly endangers them during the journey home.
Beowulf follows the mythological/archetypal Hero Quest, but the unknown author still manages to throw in surprises to keep the readers on their toes. The basic mythological Hero’s Quest, most often, has twelve main sections throughout each story. The traditional components being the call to adventure, accepting the call, and the archetypes developed in the hero’s journey. However, Beowulf does not follow most of the traditional mythological Hero’s Quest. The unknown author creates Beowulf's outside the box story through his own words.
Beowulf comes from a well respected family. His dad, the King of the Geats, allows Beowulf to step up as a hero and prove himself. He led his hero’s journey by conquering many, as well as keeping his reputation of coming out on top when it came to fighting battles. He shows many hero-like characteristics throughout the book such as bravery, courage, honor, and leadership which students and teachers alike still consider honorable in today’s day and age. Being a hero requires one to conquer many obstacles.
As said by Tomy Beta, “you are the fairytale told by your ancestors.” This quote is directly referring to the importance of ancestry and how it plays a part in a person's life, and the way they are perceived by others. In Beowulf, this idea of ancestry proves to be one of the biggest ways Beowulf finds his identity, and achieves his goals. Ancestry, in this sense, is not only a part of your life, but a part of your past and future generations. Additionally, the way a person is perceived can be tied to their motivation in pursuing heroic acts.