Epic Heroes In Beowulf, Sir Gaiwan, And Macbeth

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Throughout the centuries people have spoken and written of wondrous people with amazing talents. Ordinary, magical, noble, all people whom reflected the values of the time and the difficulties of inner conflict. The study of heroes fro this semester focused on the heroes, Beowulf, Sir Gaiwan, and Macbeth.
Anglos Saxons were a primitive society that believed in wyrd. Their rendition of a hero destined to be great were that of an epic hero named Beowulf. The people of the medieval era believed in chivalry, a concept that men of honor followed strongly such as in the case of the knights of the round table and Sir Gaiwan. Lastly, society of the Shakespearean period believed that heroes, although noble and seemingly invincible, are still humans.
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Beowulf shows the first quality of an epic hero because he is born into royalty. Beowulf is announced as royalty when he announces himself to Hrothgar, saying, “Higlac is my cousin and my king” (30). In the epic poem Beowulf also shows the ideals of that of the people in Anglos Saxon society. He says, “God must decide who will be given to death’s cold grip” (31). This shows that he believes that whatever may choose his fate, that it would be what was always meant for him despite the Christian deity of God. Furthermore, Beowulf is characterized by the strength and bravery that he possesses, proving him to be the ideal epic hero. During the battle where Grendel would meet his demise, the narrator describes Beowulf’s ultimate strength showing that Grendel, “had met a man whose hands were harder… but nothing could take his talons and himself from that tight grip” (33). Rather than shy away from the hideous monster, Beowulf used all that he had to overpower the great monster Grendel. Beowulf does not cease to amaze all of his people for years to come. He lived his life as a warrior for the sake of gaining honor he would be presented for his accomplishments even after death. For he tells his last follower, “This tower, and remember my name, and call it Beowulf’s tower, and the boats in the darkness and mist, crossing the sea will know it”(47). Of course Beowulf’s characteristics…show more content…
Once again, Macbeth is born into nobility just as Beowulf and Sir Gaiwan. The witches specifically state upon meeting Macbeth that, “All hail Macbeth, Thane of Glamis; All hail Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor; All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” (347). Readers see that he is already of nobility, as he is the Thane of Glamis but are predisposed to the future of his rising status. Macbeth, although praised for his challenging tasks and accomplishments, falls to the wayside after learning of the witches prophecies. Macbeth at first believes that, “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir(349) but in actuality by thinking this, it means that he has thought of murdering Duncan before hand to gain the crown. Shakespeare gave Macbeth this quality of a tragic flaw to show that humans are slaves to their conditions, they become ambitious in their endeavors and do what they feel they must to obtain what they want. Macbeth only realizes that his actions when it is too late.

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