Throughout history, every work of fiction that has been constructed has contained a hero that reflected the cultural values of the time. Whether it be Shakespeare or J. R. R. Tolkien, the hero of the tale has not only epitomized these values, but served as a paradigm for heroes in other works of fiction. Beowulf and Sir Gawain exemplify the cultural values of the Anglo-Saxons and the Middle English. Some of these values, such as honor and valor, are reflected throughout the evolution of the Early to Late Middle Ages, although some are replaced, and there is a slight paradigm shift with regard to the nature of the two heroes; this can be clearly viewed when one analyzes the archetypes in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in terms
The story, Beowulf, whose author is unknown, is a timeless story full of lessons people of this day and age can use. Although the story was first told--then written down--thousands of years ago, there are several ideas we, as a civilization, claim to be modern. This reflection of ideas is especially present within the representation of the hero and outcast archetypes within the story. In Beowulf, one sees the hero character, Beowulf, and the outcast character, Grendel, behave in ways that fit their archetypes. However, one also sees a blending of characteristics within the archetypes.
Everyone has a perspective on good and evil; the battle line between good and even runs through the heart. “Beowulf” illuminates characters that come from dark and deep backgrounds that construct their dauntless actions. In the heroic tale “Beowulf,” the author’s tones strongly demonstrates themes of loyalty, honor, and courage. Raffel’s tones remotely displays the act of loyalty within multiple characters. “Hail to these who will rise to God, drop off their dead bodies” (101).
Thesis: The role of the Anglo-Saxon Hero in Beowulf represents and defines the values of strength, intelligence, selfness, and courage. Beowulf himself models the culture of the Anglo-Saxon hero, as he is willing to face any odds, and fight to the death for their glory and people I. Strength and physical appearance A. Strength is clearly an important characteristic of heroes in Anglo-Saxon culture and heroic code. 1. The beginning of the story Beowulf is described as having the strength of "thirty men" in just one of his arms. 2.
Questions of Honor: Beowulf Beowulf’s honor and integrity can be questioned throughout the entirety of the epic poem, Beowulf. Whether or not his actions are inspired by his own pompous arrogance or confidence, one can argue that he is a hero nonetheless. Evidence and experience prove that Beowulf is more of a fearless hero than an excessively prideful man, and his hubris is more than justified due to the formidable duties he is able to execute. Throughout the poem, Beowulf expresses his intense strength and courage to the fearful people in the poem. His daring sense of self-assurance is backed by his victories against all three monsters, (even though he suffers a tragic death after facing the dragon, it is a defeat nonetheless).
Beowulf from Beowulf has very few things about him that are not chivalrous. His character exemplifies the Germanic hero and the Anglo-Saxon ideal of being strong, fearless, bold and loyal. One example of Beowulf being a chivalrous warrior is his bravery and courage. The evil demon Grendel has been terrorizing Herot for the past 12 years, so Beowulf wants to try and defeat him. When he arrives in Denmark Wulfgar greets him by saying “My lord, the great king of the Danes, commands me to tell you that he knows of your noble birth and that having come bravely and are welcome.”
In the article, Beowulf’s Androgynous Heroism, The author tells us that Beowulf is one of the “most memorable in his capacity as the masculine warrior and king.” (Robert Morrey, Beowulf’s Androgynous Heroism, University of Illinois Press) Even though he had no feminine companion beside him, he still fulfilled his roles, as he should have. Beowulf was authentically strong and unquestionably capable of standing up, even when nobody else could. He was able to stand up and arrest control when need be. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, he was struggling to be the best he could be until Enkidu died, his best friend.
In the epic poem Beowulf, the protagonist, Beowulf, faces three “monsters” at different times in his life. The poem begins with Grendel, a monster who attacks only in the dark of night, tormenting the kingdom of Hrothgar. The last two sections of the epic detail the conquering by Beowulf of Grendel’s mother and the dragon. The battle between the monsters and Beowulf represent the theme of good versus evil in the poem, as well as the fusion of pagan and Christian ideals in the changing Germanic society. Grendel’s mother’s actions directly juxtapose the role of a woman in this time period, and the greediness of the dragon with his treasure contrasts with the virtues of what would be considered a good king.
There are significant women who play integral parts in Beowulf. This study gives attention to Hildeburh as a woman of value. In fact, her values are not only limited to the explicates in the piece of literature, but can be related to the Anglo-Saxon society at
Literature has maintained a strong influence on society and its perceptions of heroes for centuries. In consequence, the time period in which a literary work is written reveals much about that society’s ideal. For example, the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, illustrates the deeds of a heroic knight and reflects the values of his community. Throughout the poem, Beowulf displays commendable behavior by saving another kingdom, defeating three villains, and maintaining allegiance to the lord and his people. Even though a millennium has passed since the release of this epic, heroes today display characteristics similar to those of Beowulf.
Literature has maintained a strong influence on society and its perceptions of heroes for centuries. In consequence, the time period in which a literary work is written reveals much about that society’s ideals. For example, the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, illustrates the deeds of a heroic knight and reflects the values of his community. Throughout the poem, Beowulf displays commendable behavior by saving another kingdom, defeating three villains, and maintaining allegiance to the lord and his people. Even though a millennium has passed since the release of this epic, heroes today display characteristics similar to those of Beowulf.
Boasting and self-possession were another common custom of the Anglo-Saxons. (“Anglo-Saxon Warfare Group”). Beowulf represents a quintessential Anglo-Saxon hero through his confident poise, his willingness for self-sacrifice, and his tenacity through near-impossible odds. Beowulf possessed the trait of self-assurance, almost to the point of hubris. Beowulf quickly rose through the ranks and was entrusted by King Hrothgar simply by asserting himself as the leader and savior of the Danes.
An epic hero is an individual who must evoke a sense of heroism through legendary and inspiring deeds (Merriam-Webster). These heroes of tragedy have the ability to determine their own fortune due to the amount of admired characteristics they possess. However, the ideals of an epic hero are constantly fluctuating due to the ever changing ideals of society. Although the characteristics of an epic hero are under constant modification, Beowulf is still an effective modern-day hero due to his acts of courage, compassion, and dedication in relation to his people. Courage can be defined as any individual possessing moral or mental strength in the face of physical pain or indescribable hardship (Personalitytutor).