Theme Of Heroism In Beowulf

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John Gardner’s Grendel, a parody or fanfiction of sorts of the epic poem Beowulf, is a novel that places a great deal of effort into the poem’s idea of heroism. It is analysed, made a metonym to the madness of men, a masqued insanity driven by the desire of power and fame. Through Grendel’s increasingly nihilistic and distant point of view in the regards of men, we can observe how the illusion of courage and valour firmly took hold of them, became the most important and absolute goal in their lives. Such a necessity for recognition and appreciation is indisputably obvious theme in Beowulf; all the men had to succeed their predecessor in fame, or they would be nothing but a shadow, a forgotten and unimportant son with no respect. If such a truth is true for everyday men, it was even more so for royalty and leaders, or, for instance, a thane. And so come to pass the lessons and misfortunes of Unferth. The evolution of his understanding is slow and painful in a deeper way that, at the time and often still today, wasn’t perceived as so, which makes it the worst kind of agony. Unferth begins just as the rest: no more enlightened than his companions, with a blindfold of courage and passion, the need to be someone great, a reputation fit for a thane and a warrior to uphold and the confidence to do so. Even though he conceals crimes of fratricide, he is still important to the king, and to be so, he must be a hero; to be anything lesser is to be scoffed and scorned, deemed

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