Heroism In Beowulf Research Paper

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Throughout time the definition of a hero changes. In Beowulf's time a hero was strictly someone who had self-sacrificial courage and one who used that courage to get revenge for a group of people. Today, there is not one central idea to what a hero is. Some may say heroes are ordinary people who do an extraordinary act for the wellbeing of another. Others say a hero is a role model like a singer, actor, or athlete. Society is also leaning towards anti-heros. Anti-heros “unlike the traditional hero who is morally upright and steadfast... usually has a flawed moral character,” (Michael, Jonathan). Over the centuries, cultural heroism has served the human race as a means of unifying the commonly-held beliefs of a particular culture; however,…show more content…
Hrothgar told Beowulf “Glory is now your’s forever and ever; your courage has earned it, and your strength. May God be as good to you forever”(Beowulf 42). This quote, shows that in Anglo-Saxon culture you had to earn your glory or title of a hero by doing a self sacrificial act. In this part of the story Beowulf put his life in danger to kill Grendel and save the Dane people. Near the end of the story, a dragon is terrorizing the Geats. Beowulf tried to kill the dragon, but failed, because he was too old and weak. Wiglaf, with a group of men went to go kill the dragon. All but Wiglaf left in cowardness. Wiglaf is an example of the definition of an Anglo-Saxon hero, because “ when Beowulf needed him most Wiglaf showed his courage, his strength and skill, and the boldness he was born with,” (Beowulf 110) and he killed the dragon. When Beowulf died, “twelve of the bravest Geats rode their horses around the tower, telling their sorrow, telling stories of their dead king and his greatness, his glory, praising him for heroic deeds, for a life as noble as his name,” (Beowulf 128). One of Anglo-Saxon values is fame and to earn it you had to be a hero and do something immensely courageous and life threatening to save many people’s

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