Qualities Of A Hero In Beowulf And Sir Gawain

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Traits of a Hero

What truly is a hero? How is a hero defined? A standard dictionary would define a hero as, “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” We will examine and compare three “heroes” from a range of classic tales and novels. These include Beowulf from the epic poem Beowulf, Duke Theseus from The Knight’s Tale, and Sir Gawain from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The first trait of a hero we will look at is leadership. All three heroes showed leadership in some way in each of their respective tales. Beowulf showed leadership throughout his story by taking charge against the monster Grendel. Grendel had been terrorizing a distant land, by eating people, for twelve years. The people of the land called upon Beowulf to help. He ventured to the land willingly but was very prideful at first. After slaying Grendel, Beowulf reigned as king and still showed great leadership even into his old age. He finally was killed on his final quest to slay a dragon. Duke Theseus demonstrated leadership in a much different way. As the story went, his
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Beowulf demonstrated this trait as well all throughout his tale. After killing Grendel, before Beowulf was king, Beowulf’s work was done. He had finished what he set out to do. The land he saved wasn’t even his home land, so he didn’t really have any obligation to stay. When Grendel’s mom showed up to avenge her son, Beowulf could have traveled home and left the people of the land to deal with the beast. Instead, he remained loyal and hunted down Grendel’s mother. He killed her. Duke Theseus showed loyalty after the battle was over. The man that had won his sister-in-law was killed in an unfortunate event. Before that man died, he asked that his opponent marry the woman. King Theseus respected the man’s wish and made sure it was carried out. Sir Gawain showed loyalty by facing the Green Knight for his friends and family no matter the
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