Imagine a world where darkness, corruption, and even monsters live and thrive in a world without heroes. By definition, a hero is a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character. Two such people are Odysseus, from The Odyssey by Homer and Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. While Odysseus had many dangerous journeys and may be a good hero, it is clear that Bilbo Baggins is far more qualified to be a hero. It is true that Odysseus is a hero because he is smart, helpful, and he perseveres, but he does it for his own personal gain.
They all venture far away to a mountain, in hope of reclaiming their treasure that has been taken over by a mischievous dragon. Along the way, they overcome many obstacles that threaten their lives and put their trust for one another to the test. Bilbo learns that there is more to him than he realizes and through hard work and dedication, he can accomplish almost anything. Overcoming these problems and learning more about himself helped Bilbo change from an ordinary, self-doubting hobbit into a clever, courage-filled, loyal hero. In the beginning, Bilbo has no desire to go on an adventure of any kind, but he quickly learns about the cleverness he obtains when he is forced to make quick decisions.
Beowulf is the better hero because he puts everyone else ahead of himself. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain is the lesser hero because he is only motivated by duty. King Arthur has agreed to the Green Knight's challenge however Sir Gawain intervened in the dealing. Gawain states, "I am the weakest of your warriors and the feeblest of wit; loss of my life would be least lamented. Were I not your nephew my life would mean nothing; to be born of your blood is my body's only claim."
After having defeated the Sphinx, and being worshipped by the people it would be understandable for Oedipus to be prideful. His pride, though, makes Oedipus believe that he can overcome fate and play the role of God. No doubt, Oedipus is a strong man whose self determination causes him to have this prideful notion that he can change the future. This is a constant throughout the story, and emphasizes the static nature of Oedipus’ character. His hubris prevents him from taking sound advice from his good friends.
Beowulf is extraordinary. The name sake and hero archetype of the epic poem Beowulf, transcends what it means to be a king reaching the title of hero and champion of the people. When he first is described in line 196 of the epic, the writer says,“There was no one else like him alive. In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, high-born and powerful.” Beowulf will always be the time’s mightiest hero, whether he is king or not. However when pondering if Beowulf himself, would rather be a hero or a king, the answer would be the former.
Though Gilgamesh and Odysseus possess great strength and sharp minds, their own flaws of visionless are similar, and this does not help them with their journeys; like the duty of killing supernatural enemies like Humbaba and Polyphemus. These heroes are both men who have been granted certain strengths, Odysseus with physical, while Gilgamesh has been granted mental strength. We see Gilgamesh’s mental strength used to get over his fears of living life without his dear friend. In these two epic tale we see our heroes being lead by the gods to reach their outcome. The trial these heroes face is not the monsters or the journey its self but it is themselves they have to face.
Bilbo also dealt with hardships, failures, and accomplishments. His journey with the dwarves and Gandalf helped him gain all these spiritual treasures. Throughout Bilbo’s long journey the dwarves gain respect for him and Bilbo earns a good reputation. At first Bilbo is a small little hobbit that is afraid of adventure. He is used to his routinely everyday life.
This poem was fantastically written, and these days it is hard to find pieces of literature that readers can relate to in more ways than one. I for one prefer a hero like Gawain than a hero like Beowulf. Sir Gawain displays what all heroes should be; virtuous, noble, humble, and of course they must have humility. Humility is key, because without Sir Gawain’s humanly flaw he would not be our ideal hero that we long for so much in
Despite the negative and the vague presentation of Gollum’s character that make him very hard to place in any distinct class he yet remains a Ring-carrier (to be trailed by Bilbo Baggins and afterward by Bilbo’s nephew Frodo, yet unexpectedly the one and only intended to turn into the Ring-destroyer) and additionally an individual from the same race. Bilbo and Gollum belonged to the same race; this can be initially seen in The Hobbit, their knowledge about the riddle game, bears a testimony to the fact that they shared a similar culture.
Not only would this terrible fate have befallen the dwarves, but Smaug would have never been vanquished. When Bilbo meets Gollum in the cave he shows bravery, as well as compassion. Instead of threatening Gollum, Bilbo plays a game of wits with him to try and convince Gollum to show Bilbo the way out. When Bilbo is reciting the riddles with Gollum he could not think of the answer so Bilbo tries to say “give me some time” but instead he says “Time! Time!” Which luckily for Bilbo was the right answer.
McCandless shows that the expedition was self-discovery, to take a risk to improve his own life. Throughout his journey, McCandless lies in harsh environments as well as having several ways and chances to get home, but he does not take them. Many would try to say that risky lifestyles are dangerous and best to take the easiest approach especially since Chris dies in Alaska in his journey. Proving that risk can take your life or loved ones, but that is why it is important to do risky choices in life since it pays back in the long run. The last thing Chris wrote was, “I have had a happy life and thank the Lord.