In today’s society, anybody can be considered a hero. A hero is a selfless person who is admired for their courageous achievements. A mother, celebrity, or even a mailman can be a hero to someone. In Beowulf, the epic poem translated by Burton Raffel, Beowulf is recognized as a hero who craves too much glory. In today’s world, Beowulf is viewed as an irrelevant hero since he displays poor qualities of arrogance and selfishness.
In the epic Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, Beowulf is depicted as a heroic figure who fights monsters and defends the weak. During its time, Beowulf would be considered a great hero, however in today 's standards Beowulf would only be considered a great warrior. That’s because a hero should value the lives of the people and not seek to be rewarded. Instead, Beowulf committed heroic acts for his own selfish reasons and never shows to values the lives of the people. From fighting Grendel to slaying the dragon, Beowulf only fought because he value the fame and fortune that comes along with those accomplishments.
The epic poem “Beowulf”, translated by Burton Raffel, focuses on a hero by the name of Beowulf who goes on a quest to rescue King Hrothgar and his people from an egregious monster by the name of Grendel. This Anglo-Saxon tale gives insight into the values and beliefs of the people from whom the story originated. Their war-centered ideology and views on loyalty and courage were the principles that the Anglo-Saxon culture was founded upon. While warfare was a focal point in their lifestyle, it was far from a savage, barbaric state of fighting. Honor and prestige were bestowed upon those who died during battle and selflessness for fellow warriors was a fundamental belief. 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.
Chivalry is a code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood which developed between 1170 and 1220. Between this time period many authors wrote about knights and warriors and how they represented the values of being loyal, courageous and their willingness to give one’s life for another or in other words being a chivalrous warrior. Some examples of these tales are Beowulf and Le Morte d’Arthur. Beowulf and Wiglaf from Beowulf and King Arthur from Le Morte d’Arthur each have two examples of them reflecting the values of being a chivalrous warrior.
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.
Mythological or Archetypal philosophy has been around for centuries and is used across numerous cultures. Carl Jung, a close colleague of Sigmund Freud, defined the word archetype as “a figure...that repeats itself in the course of history wherever creative fantasy is fully manifested.” Archetypes can come in various forms: characters, images, and situations. Though many different forms of archetypes appear in the tale of Beowulf, specifically, the archetypal character roles of the hero and the outcast are major aspects of the story.
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. When he died, Gilgamesh started changing for the superior. Just as the article says, Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Heroic Life, “The most a man
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
Alexander Hamilton once said, “There is a certain Enthusiasm in liberty that makes Human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.” Beowulf is an epic poem in which the main character Beowulf did acts of service, but he fought for those who couldn’t fight. The overall theme of good versus evil in Beowulf had Beowulf dealing with challenges that no ordinary man would be able to handle unless they were a true epic hero. Throughout the poem Beowulf proves to be an epic hero by his strength, bravery, and sacrifice.
Comparisons and contrasts play a huge role in literary works, especially between characters. Not only do they show similarities and differences between various characters, but they also bring out specific qualities that make a character unique and help guide the readers towards a common conclusion. In the popular Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, the protagonist and hero, Beowulf, is emphasized for his extraordinary greatness. Throughout his story, he, as an advocate of good, encounters many opposing forces in the form of other characters. In a society where heroism and bravery are honored as essential aspects of culture, the contrasting values of these characters, or foils, help define Beowulf as the model hero. He becomes often associated with the image of a perfect, almighty warrior, able to prove his fame in any situation. However, the foil characters can do more than purely illuminate his positive values. With the contrast they provide, Beowulf’s faults are revealed and criticized as well. Although foil characters often point out the greatness of Beowulf, they also serve to highlight Beowulf’s flaws, teach him lessons, and allow him to change, as seen in his interactions with Unferth, Hrothgar, and the dragon.
The concept of a hero is prevalent through all generations because it presents a template for ethics and behavior. Beowulf is a pivotal epic told by poets throughout early european society and mirrors the manly nature of their ideal hero. The patriarchal values of the Anglo-Saxons are displayed through the epic Beowulf. The characters’ loyalty to their leaders as well as their conventional sense of masculinity indicate that the values of a society determine the values of an individual.
Most readers often question the concept of queer theory and ask themselves, “Did the author/poet purposely add these homoerotic quotes or did it just happen?” In a close reading of some Anglo-Saxon readings, there is plenty of evidence to support the case of there being queer theory works implemented and how it relates to the overall plot of the story. The poem of Beowulf contains a lot of hidden imagery, symbolism, and other underlying messages throughout and the hidden theme or theory that is most prevalent throughout the poem is the queer theory, or that Beowulf is actually a homosexual. There are multiple situations and circumstances that would give the reader this impression within the text and the use of different literary devices give the poet, who is unknown, the ability to express them. In the poem, the poet utilizes phallic symbols, coding, and heteronormative roles in society to show the possibility that Beowulf was queer in a time where heteronormative roles were what was the social norm in society.
Christopher Reeves once said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Although Beowulf was human, he was not an ordinary individual, hero, or king, for he was a man who displayed superhuman qualities in his efforts to protect the Danish and Geatish people. Beowulf, who was established Geatish warrior that spent his life in battle, showed these extraordinary characteristics that made him an epic hero, one who possesses superhuman, almost god-like qualities. Being constantly on a quest, risking his life for glory and the greater good of society, and being superiorly intelligent, courageous and strong are the three most important reasons why Beowulf deserves such a notable
In the poem Beowulf, we see the Anglo-Saxon hero. It is an epic of a hero who embodies the honor of the Anglo-Saxon culture and tradition. The poem in itself is an elegant script of Anglo-Saxon times. Composed in 8th or 9th century the epic was passed down from generation to generation orally and has no known author. In the Anglo-Saxon culture a hero was a warrior. Beowulf depicts the adventures of a remarkably brave, larger-than-life hero who demonstrates almost superhuman abilities in battling monstrous opponents. Through Beowulf’s strength, bravery, and, loyalty he exemplifies the archetype of a perfect hero.