Heroes In Beowulf

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Bernard Evslin’s Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths and Burton Raffel’s Beowulf provide the reader with heroes who are morally questionable. In a typical myth, the hero of the story often makes many ambiguous choices that seem admirable on the surface, but develop in an unsettling manner. The hero is generally guided to an adventure and along the way commits many sins of goodness. Oftentimes, these heroes will never be able to overcome their obstacles; and therefore become fundamentally flawed. They are often looked up to as role models, but in essence these “heros” are representations of evil. But in the end, from the Greek point of view, these heroes are honored and placed on a pedestal by their people, yet they commit morally…show more content…
Bloodlust is an uncontrollable desire to kill which is not morally acceptable. In Beowulf, Beowulf finally battles Grendel and defeats him, but demands vengeance. Although Grendel attempts to repent he is “He twisted in pain,/and the bleeding sinew deep in his shoulder/snapped, muscle and bone split/and broke” (389-91). Beowulf finally gets the chance to execute Grendel, but in this endeavor, he attempts to make him suffer as much as possible. He slowly tortures Grendel and even lets him go in the hopes he bleeds to death. The desire for vengeance grows when the Geats decide to hang his arm from the rafters. Beowulf’s bloodlust is so excessive he tries to murder Grendel in the most inhumane ways, and even goes to the extent of sacrificing one of his own men to satisfy his need to kill the undying Grendel. In Atalanta, Meleager and Atalanta go hunting and caught so many animals that they even attracted Artemis’ unwanted attention. Artemis therefore grew upset and “molded a huge boar, mud-colored, with red evil eyes” (177) Atalanta and Meleager obviously slaughter an abundance of animals to get Artemis’ attention. It is unclear why Atalanta becomes upset with Meleager after killing her brother bear, but she is excited to hunt with Meleager. Atalanta separates from her natural world roots and ends up killing the animals she grew up with. Artemis is frustrated with her because she was…show more content…
In Theseus, Theseus is travelling through a dangerous forest to find his father in Athens. Theseus comes across three deadly monsters. After he defeats the first monster, Corynetes, Theseus advances to Pityocamptes. Theseus willingly, “let both pines go. They sprang apart. Half of Pityocamptes hung from one tree, half from the other. Vultures screamed with joy” (153). Theseus willingly and knowingly murdered Corynetes, Pityocamptes, and Scion. He took the law into his own hands and was the judge and jury when he decided to take all three monster’s’ lives. Law and keeping justice is a communal thing, but Theseus takes it upon himself to execute these monsters. What makes Theseus even more guilty is that he essentially planned out each of these murders and murdered these monsters that did him no harm. It is almost as if Theseus feels above the law with his hero status. Heroes often determine their own course of action, but don’t clearly think about the moral consequences or how they may be seen by everyone else. In Perseus, Perseus finally comes home with the head of Medusa for Polydectes and arrives at his mother’s wedding. Perseus storms in and, “drew out the head of Medusa, and the throne room became a grove of statues. Stone guards stood with stone swords upraised.” (131) When Perseus pulls the head out he decides whether
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