The use of archetypes in literature has a rich history, and the epic poem "Beowulf" is a testament to this tradition. One of the most notable archetypes found in the poem is the Quest archetype, which is a journey taken by the hero in search of something valuable. In "Beowulf," the Quest archetype is used to develop the theme of heroism and the struggle between good and evil. Showed throughout the quest with the decendent’s of cain.
The epic poem states “ wait, for me close by, my friends we shall see, soon who will survive this bloody battle, stand when the fighting is done no one else could do what I mean to, here, no man but me could hope to defeat this monster no one could try,” (lines 679-685). This quote shows how the hero steps up to slay the all mighty dragon that no one was able to kill but him. Beowulf tells his men to stay behind so that he could do it on his own. Beowulf was doing something that all hero’s do, which is giving his opponent a fair fight and seeing who comes out on top.
Within this paper, there are two different pieces writing that will be compared. Those writings are The Epic Poem of Beowulf and A Hero’s Journey Archetype. This paper will be discussing this question: How does Beowulf follow the Hero’s Journey Archetypes? According to Hero’s Journey Archetype, the characteristics of a hero is that, the hero is male.
The hero in the epic poem Beowulf is the main character, Beowulf. He demonstrates heroic qualities as soon as the readers are introduced to his character. Beowulf proves himself to be courageous and brave by voluntarily fighting the “undefeatable” monster, Grendel. He is greatly admired by both the Danes and Geats for his courageous acts. Although his motivation is altered to only benefit himself with the title of the greatest warrior, his plan to save the Danes is greatly appreciated by all in the land.
Throughout the poem, Beowulf fights three different monsters and in each of these situations he chooses to begin the fight without their help. He enters into combat with his men by his side, but when the actual fighting begins he defeats the monsters with very little help from them. Beowulf’s strength and physical prowess was unlike any other man in comparison to his height and incredible grip. Furthermore, Beowulf can be categorized as an outcast based on his personality traits. The main character is set apart from the other warriors because of his courage and humility.
The story of Beowulf successfully follows every step of an Archetypal Hero Quest; the hero, Beowulf, answers a call, makes a decision, prepares, faces obstacles, reaches a climax, and returns home. Beowulf is met with three large battles within Beowulf, first with Grendel, then with Grendel’s mother, and his last fatal battle, with a dragon. Each battle carries aspects that add to the Hero Quest but do not fully create one until all are together. The call is the beginning of a Hero Quest.
Beowulf embodies many universal societal heroic values that are signified in the modern world like courage, bravery, and strength. In the poem, Beowulf displays courage. “Now, I mean to be a match for Grendel, settle the outcome in single combat” (Heaney 425-426). This quote shows courage because he’s telling them that he can fight Grendel and wants to weather he wins or loses.
In almost every source of literature, a constant battle occurs between two seemingly equal sides and in the end, only one can prevail. In the historical epic, “Beowulf”, set in eastern Europe in the sixth century, the battle is the vast difference of the higher class noblemen and the foul underbelly of society. The only difference is that in this poem, the crude, lower-class is made up of mythical monsters and medieval demons. The author of “Beowulf” establishes a defined conflict between the barbaric beasts and the civilized people through the juxtaposition of Beowulf and Grendel.
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 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.
Beowulf uses the sword to fulfill his second task of the story, which essentially saves his life but would have been useless if not for his persistence and strength. Additionally, character archetypes are also very present in Beowulf. The archetypes present help depict what kind of character Beowulf is, and establish his leadership skills over his men. In the story, Beowulf is a Hero, and he is accompanied by his Loyal Retainers, who will do anything to protect Beowulf and stay by his side in
The epic poem Beowulf is a classic tale of good versus evil. Good, as shown in the story, is any action that fights evil and defends the community and the people of it. The evil intent of Grendel, the story’s antagonist and cannibalistic murderer, who is depicted as a “fiend out of hell” (99), is strongly countered by the heroic actions of the stories main protagonist, Beowulf. The noble King Hrothgar is a role model for young Beowulf at the beginning of the epic, displaying acts of charity and wisdom throughout his life.
In “Beowulf,” there are many concepts of good and evil portrayed in the epic poem by an unknown author. Beowulf brings good to the Geats. The people would say he was a gift from the Gods to battle and demolish the evil. The monsters, however, cause trouble to the people and bring out the evil in everything. These elements of good and evil help define this an epic poem.
Beowulf is an archetypal character within a legendary piece of text. He embodies the conglomerate of many Anglo Saxon values expressed throughout his heroic journey. Contrived by the mighty Northern Anglo Saxons, Beowulf is the manifestation of the Anglo Saxon ideals. This work of art helps us identify and analyze Beowulf’s ideals in a way that lets us deduce the values of the Anglo Saxon society. Examination of this poem lets us familiarize ourselves about a society obsessed with religion, vengeance and war-lust beings.
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.