National Hero In Beowulf

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National rivalries have always been a part of history. They were fiercer, of course, during times of war and conflict. During the time when Beowulf was written, estimated to be around the 8th to 11th centuries, England was suffering brutal attacks from the Vikings. As these attacks escalated into invasions, the underprepared country suffered, and slowly learned the ways of war from the fierce Norse warriors over time. As the cultures mixed, they would have heard the Völsunga saga, the legends of the Norse heroes. However, with the oppression of the English by the Vikings, and the fierce nationalism that sweeps through a country in times of conflict, it could be argued that in response to this, they created their own national hero, Beowulf, and penned his adventures in a National Epic (Dark ages 5-13). The Völsunga saga tells the tales of ancient Norse kings and heroes. One major hero from these tales, Sigemund, spelled as…show more content…
In fact, it is mentioned that the minstrel tells tales of Beowulf’s glory before the tale of Sigmund. In the fight with Grendel, Beowulf is so confident in his marvelous abilities and superior strength that he foregoes any armor or weapons at all. He rips off the arm of the monster, leaving it to run to its marsh and die. All of this he manages with no weapon at all, as compared to Sigmund’s reliance on a magical sword. In the fight with Grendel’s mother, as well, it is not Beowulf’s strength that fails him, but rather the sword that he took with him that did not hold true. When again his sword snapped in the fight with the dragon, it was said, “It was never his fortune/ to be helped in combat by the cutting edge/of weapons made of iron” (Beowulf 2681-2684). This mindset that Beowulf can achieve as much as Sigmund without the aid of a magical weapon helps to establish the English hero’s dominance over his Nordic
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