Examples Of Heroism In Beowulf

1286 Words6 Pages

Blake Williams
Mrs. Waller
English IV
23 Oct. 2015
A Thousand Years of Heroism Heroes in human stories passed from generation often share similar adventures and qualities. These stories often share a common formula. This theory that human mythologies share a common structure has been popularized by Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Beowulf is a 9th century epic poem and one of the oldest examples of Campbell’s theory of the Hero’s Journey. It centers on a Swedish warrior, Beowulf, and his heroic deeds. Often, modern writers incorporate this framework in their story; an example of this is George Lucas’s Star Wars. Luke Skywalker, the main hero of Star Wars, goes on a journey comparable to Beowulf’s own. Both stories follow the …show more content…

Each hero, solidifying Campbell’s theory further, also meets a wise older warrior. Beowulf arrives in Denmark and meets Hrothgar. Hrothgar later gives advice to Beowulf “Push away your pride! Your strength, your power, are yours for how many more years?” (1761-62). Hrothgar has seen his own strength wane through the years and encourages Beowulf to rule just and peacefully. Similarly, Obi Wan mentors Luke on the ways of the Force, “The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together” (Lucas, Star Wars: Episode IV). Obi Wan gives and also trains Luke to use an ancient weapon used by those sensitive to the Force, the light saber. In the same fashion after Beowulf defeats Grendel he receives “an ancient sword” (1023) from Hrothgar. With this assistance our heroes are ready for the next challenge. Unexpectedly, Beowulf must now vanquish Grendel’s mother, who came to Herot seeking revenge for her son. To further combat evil, Beowulf must travel further into the unknown, entering a lake where Grendel’s mother’s lair lies. Beowulf engages her, but his weapons provide no use. As grim as the situation may be for Beowulf he maintains his determination. Grabbing a sword crafted by giants nearby, narrowly avoiding failure Beowulf swings at Grendel’s mother killing her. Luke Skywalker finds himself in a similar …show more content…

Luke and his companions are rewarded by the Rebels for their assistance and saving Leia. The victory is shortly lived, the Rebels are preparing to assault the Death Star and Luke decides to join the Rebel Starfleet, a mission that could mean his life. Likewise, Beowulf, now an aged king, must take up arms once more against a dragon that is attacking his people. Beowulf goes into this battle knowing it may be his last but does so anyway. This level of selflessness is what truly makes each character a hero. Luke, in the beginning of the story was reluctant to even assist Obi Wan travel to Alderaan, now he is assaulting the most powerful space station of the Empire. Similarly both heroes receive help from outside sources. Luke receives help supernaturally, when preparing to attack the most vulnerable area of the Death Star he hears Obi Wan’s voice “Use the Force, Luke” (Lucas, Star Wars Episode: IV). Obi Wan continues pressing Luke to trust in him. Luke turns off his targeting computer and fires, successfully hitting the target. Luke flies away victorious while the Death Star is exploding sending Vader’s ship through space. Luke’s sensitivity to the Force is what gives him his strength and ability, in a similar way to God providing strength to Beowulf. Beowulf himself credits God’s involvement in defeating Grendel’s mother “I’d have been dead at once, and the fight finished, the she-devil victorious, if our Father in

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