Judith Essay: The Nature Of Heroism In Judith

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The nature of heroism in “Judith” melds the heroic qualities of the pre-Christian Anglo Saxons and the Judeo-Christian heroic qualities. The Anglo Saxon qualities are the skills in battle, bravery, and strong bonds between a chieftain and the thanes. This social bond requires, on the part of the leader, the ability to inspire, and form workable relationships with subordinates. These qualities, while seen obviously in the heroine and her people, may definitely be contrasted by the notable absence of these qualities in the opposition. In fact, the presence of these qualities in the Israelites are presented as a foil to the Assyrians. The result is the transfer of the enemies’ glory and success to the Israelites. The reason the Israelites and Judith have these heroic qualities and the Babylonians do not is a matter of religion. The author of the poem appears to be making a case for piety to be included among the traditional heroic qualities of the Anglo Saxons. It is because the Judith and the Israelites have the strength of God on their side that it is possible for them to act in a…show more content…
Not only does he fulfill the role of a figure that inspires bravery and soothes doubts, he also provides riches of both the literal and spiritual variety, as well as physical prowess in battle. For instance Judith is able to decapitate Holofernes so violently because “the Lord of heaven/ granted it so when he grant her her victory” (123-24). When the Israelites are killing all the Assyrians, God “helped them generously with his aid” (300). Furthermore their victory through God grants them “precious treasures” from the Assyrians, as a chieftain would reward his thanes (318). Clearly, however God exceeds normal leaders in his generosity by his ability to grant spiritual as well as earthly rewards. Judith receives glory “in the kingdom of earth” as well as “heaven’s glory, because she possessed true faith” (348,

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