Heroes In Beowulf's Aeneas

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From Odysseus and hospitality to Antonio and hypocrisy, a hero’s purpose is to teach his audience, yet the message and literary techniques differ between eras. Adored and praised from all corners of the earth, the world craves and creates many different heroes. Nevertheless, a hero’s purpose is mainly the same. Authors create heroes to provide examples of “goodness” to their readers. Whether it’s Aeneas symbolizing perfect piety or Horatio of true friendship, all heroes and characters send a message to their readers of what kind of person they should aim to be. Additionally, society tends to define the “goodness” that heroes exemplify. The classical heroes, for example, taught their readers about cultural morals while Shakespearean heroes taught…show more content…
Beowulf, in his epic poem of the same name, taught lessons and morals about the divine right of warriors and kings through his story. By his never ending victories and glorious death, he inspired and instructed many on the endowment and blessed fate that God bestows upon a special few: royal kings. “He’d (Beowulf) reached the end of his days, their mighty war-king, the great lord of the Geats, gone to a glorious death.” (Beowulf 122) Hamlet lives under a similar age of thought and government; he lives in a time of divine kings and rulers. However, the rightful king is dead, his heir in the throes of despair, and an imposter possesses the helm of the kingdom. Not only did Shakespeare more effectively teach the importance of honoring the divine right of kings through an example of a nation doing exactly the opposite, but also he strongly establishes this principle through his complex characters. “Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief that can denote me truly. These indeed seem, for they are actions a man might play, but I have within which passes show; these but the trappings and the suits of woe.” (The Yale Shakespeare 981) By delving into details of his character’s minds and emotions, Shakespeare more powerfully expresses the consequences of bad decisions in his tragedies, as well as happy effects in his comedies. But even his happier stories, which match the tone of classical stories, are more effective because of his characters. Portia and Penelope, for example, are both powerful women with great estates, possessions, and responsibilities, and both execute their duties exceptionally well. Nevertheless, Portia is both more effective and memorable than Penelope because of her character’s layers of complexity and because the story gives the audience a deeper understanding of who she is. With Penelope the readers aren’t given a decent
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