Beowulf

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Division between Christianity and Paganism in Beowulf

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

In Beowulf, we see a clash between Christianity and Paganism often. Considering it was written to show how Christian beliefs are superior to Pagan beliefs, it would be strange if this wasn’t seen. When Beowulf was written, Christians believed they were better than everyone else and they frowned upon people with different ideas than them. Christians believe that there is only one God and they think Jesus was put on this planet to save us. Pagans believe that there are many gods, but they typically pick a specific one to worship and praise. Due to this difference, the two religions do not really like each other. In the poem, we see the divide between Christianity and Paganism through comparisons like light versus dark and good versus evil. Obviously, in this case, the Christians are light and the good and the Pagans are the evil and the dark. Throughout this essay, I will take a deeper look into this divide and explain it. The divide between Christianity and Paganism is more apparent with the comparison between good and evil.

The first villain readers come across is Grendel, the terrifying beast who has been attacking Herot hall for 12 years. “So times were pleasant for the people there until finally one, a fiend out of hell, began to work his evil in the world”(Heaney 9, Lines 99-101). We see the good, happy Danish people are being terrorized by Grendel. Words like hell and evil both evoke negative emotions towards this monster. Eventually, when the brave, strong Beowulf appears, Hrothgar is so thankful because Beowulf is going to try to help his people. Beowulf immediately proves in the fight that he is going to win. “The captain of evil discovered himself in a handgrip harder than anything he had ever encountered in any man on the face of the earth”(Heaney 51, Lines 749-752). Readers see that Beowulf is going to be the hero, or the good, that is going to save the Danish people from the evil monster.

Grendel is destroyed in an extremely quick fight and it appears that Christianity has won, but another Pagan threat is lurking. Grendel’s mother is the next monster Beowulf must fight and she is described as, “a monstrous hell-bride,” (Heaney 89, 1259). With words like these, we know she is going to be evil and she is. She murders one of Hrothgar’s trusted advisors, so Beowulf goes to her home in a haunted mere, to seek revenge. After a more difficult, fight Beowulf wins, showing that Christianity is still supreme. The last battle Beowulf fights in is the most difficult one. After we read the sentence, “for the vile sky-winger would leave nothing alive in his wake,” (Heaney 157, Lines 2314-2315), we know this villain is the worst yet. After the fight is over, we see that both Beowulf and the dragon have been mortally injured. It seems like it is the end for both Christianity and Paganism, however suddenly Beowulf gives his torque to Wiglaf. Not only does this symbolize a new King of Geatland, but it shows that Christianity lives on and Paganism is defeated. The other comparison that is seen in this poem is that of light and dark. Usually, while fighting the monster, the scene is dark, but right after they are killed there is light. For example, “A light appeared and the place brightened the way the sky does when heaven’s candle is shining clearly. ”(Lines 1570-1572). This sentence is seen right after Grendel’s mother is killed and beheaded. It almost seems like God has sent down light in the gloomiest of places to show that Christianity has won there.

Before Beowulf killed Grendel’s mom, the mere was dark and scary, but right after she is killed this light appears. Another example can be seen after the last battle, “It glowed with light so he could make out the ground at his feet and inspect the valuables” (Heaney 187, Lines 2769-2771). Right after Beowulf kills the dragon, his dying wish is to see the treasure he died for. When it is brought to him, light enters the dark cave and allows Beowulf to see it. God has sent his light once again to show another win for the Christians. There are more examples throughout the book also. For example, Grendel only attacks at night and all the monsters live in dark environments. Whenever there is a win for Christianity, light always appears.

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146

A Synopsis of the Foundation Text of English Literature, Titled Beowulf

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The foundation text of English literature, titled Beowulf (meaning “man wolf” when translated into the modern language), presents readers with a hero named Beowulf who fights three different battles, each with its own monster. Beowulf’s first battle awaits him when he travels to present day Denmark to save the Danes from a monster named Grendel that has been wreaking havoc on King Hrothgar’s men. Grendel’s defeat leads to Beowulf’s second battle with Grendel’s mother, who avenges the death of her son. Once Beowulf saves the Danes from the monsters they faced, Beowulf returns home to rule his land until he meets his death in a battle with a dragon, signifying the monster that overcame him. Although Beowulf’s success in battle with his literal monsters would name him a hero in almost any circumstance, Beowulf’s life and the situations that led him to battle fall into place with the same ideals that name him a classic hero under Campbell’s hero archetype, where the hero must have a reason for departure, initiation through his defeat of an enemy, and a return from his journey. Beowulf’s journey of life, which was a battle until his death, relates to humans in the sense that although Beowulf’s monsters were real creatures, every individual faces their own version of a monster that phases them, but are conquered in the end. There is always one monster, however, that one can never overcome. Beowulf presents this monster as the dragon in the poem, which ties into every individual as the monster that has never been conquered: the monster of death.

Campbell’s hero archetype is also known as the monomyth, or hero’s journey, that sets the framework of the traditional, classical hero. It defines a hero by the steps in the journey that the hero takes, which can be analyzed in three different stages. The first stage of the hero’s journey is his departure, which can be further explained by 5 further categories. The first of this five is “The Ordinary World,” which explains that the hero must come from an ordinary background, setting the level playing field for all heroes who fulfill Campbell’s criteria. It is important that the hero who fulfills Campbell’s archetype is an ordinary human in order for readers to relate to the story and identify with the hero. Beowulf achieves this criteria as he is known to be a Geat who lived in present-day Sweden as King Hygelac’s thane. He is described as, “of living strong men he was the strongest, fearless and gallant and great of heart” (132-133), implying that Beowulf was an ordinary man except for his characteristics that set him apart from others. The second category within the departure stage is the “Call to Adventure,” in which the hero is informed of his need elsewhere. This call foreshadows the change from the character’s then-ordinary life to his journey as a hero.

In Beowulf, this criterion is fulfilled when “[the] tales of the terrible deeds of Grendel reached Hygelac’s thane in his home with the Geats” (130-131), signifying Beowulf’s knowledge of the happenings with the Danes. Following this criteria is the “Refusal of the Call,” where the hero doubts his confidence with the challenge. This will cause the hero to refuse the call, but then face a shortcoming where he is forced to go on the journey. This, interestingly, is not completely evident in Beowulf, as Beowulf does not refuse the call to begin with. Much of the reason for his decision to travel to the Danes was because of his pride and reputation, putting him in a situation in which he could not refuse. If Beowulf had refused the call, however, he would have been faced with shame as he was described to be the “strongest, fearless, and gallant” (132-133), compensating for his incentive to travel in the first place. Because of this, the third criteria of the departure stage is fulfilled, as it can be seen that had Beowulf refused the call, he would have been pushed into seeking out Grendel anyway.

The fourth stage in the departure level of Campbell’s hero archetype is “Meeting the Mentor,” where the prospective hero seeks guidance regarding the journey that he is about to begin. The mentor acts as a counselor who gives advice, re-instills confidence, or presents the hero with weapons that he will need to fulfill the quest. Although this is not seen in the very beginning as “counseling,” prior to Beowulf’s departure, “in the ship’s hold snugly they stowed their trappings, gleaming armor and battle gear” (149-150), meaning that Beowulf received weapons prior to his fight with Grendel, compensating for the lack of guidance he had received. This can also be paralleled by the way that prior to fighting Grendel’s mother, Beowulf was presented with Unferth’s Hrunting in order to kill the mother. This also fulfills the fourth criteria of Beowulf’s departure to become a hero. The fifth and final criteria in fulfilling a hero’s departure is “Crossing the Threshold,” where the threshold is the line between the hero’s ordinary world and the alien world that he is about to enter. This is seen in the poem when Beowulf embarks the ship on his journey to the Danes, acting as if it was a journey that he could not go back on. In the poem, this is described as Beowulf “launched the bessel, the well-braced bark, seaward bound on a joyous journey” (151-152). This symbolizes the threshold that Beowulf crosses to embark on his journey as a hero. The idea of crossing the threshold also occurs when Beowulf jumps into the lake filled with sea creatures on his way to Grendel’s mother’s lair, marking the difference between the land is known and unknown. With the fulfillment of these five criteria, Beowulf embarked on his departure journey for the hero archetype.

The second stage to Campbell’s hero archetype following the departure level is initiation, where the hero fulfills a series of tests and trials that will qualify him to fulfill his ultimate goal. This initiation can be more personal, such as maturing or gaining self confidence, or physical trials that the hero must endure. Like the departure level, initiation contains a set of criteria that the hero must meet in order to qualify for Campbell’s archetype. The first one is “Tests, Allies, and Enemies,” in which the hero faces challenges that test him. These obstacles can take almost any form and exists solely to disrupt the hero’s journey. In Beowulf, one of the obstacles that he immediately faces is Unferth’s challenging of Beowulf’s strength prior to Beowulf’s fight with Grendel. The poem tells this as, “Then out spoke Unferth, Ecglaf’s son, who sat at the feet of the Scylding lord, picking a quarrel – for Beowulf’s quest” (382-384). In this section, Unferth taunts Beowulf regarding a swimming match they had previously, ultimately challenging Beowulf’s honor. Beowulf overcomes this obstacle by being unfazed by Unferth’s comments and by reinforcing hope within the people in completing the ultimate goal. Following this, the bigger and more obvious challenge facing Beowulf is his fight with Grendel, his enemy. Beowulf fights unarmed and defeats him in the end, fulfilling the first criteria of the initiation journey by overcoming the challenges that he had faced during. Succeeding the tests is “Approach to the Inmost Cave,” where the hero must cross another threshold into an even greater unknown.

Following Grendel’s defeat, Grendel’s mother wreaks more havoc on the Danes in order to avenge her son’s death, calling for Beowulf’s help once again. In order to fight Grendel’s mother, Beowulf first enters a lake that is filled with sea monsters that taunt him, described in the poem as, “the swimming forms of strange sea-dragons, dim serpent shapes in the watery depths, sea-beasts sunning on headland slopes” (937-939). The setting of this lake can be contrasted to Hell, emphasizing Beowulf’s crossing into the unknown. The measures that Beowulf takes in order to approach Grendel’s mother in the first place adds depth and foreshadows what is to come next, fulfilling the second part of initiation. The third stage of initiation is “Ordeal,” where the hero must overcome a physical test that will help the world he lives in. The hero often comes close to death and experiences some form of resurrection after overcoming the dangerous task. In Beowulf, it was the defeat of Grendel’s mother. The significance of this scene in the text is that if Beowulf had not defeated the mother, he would have died and his kinsmen along with the Danes would have not been able to survive. Beowulf’s “resurrection” occurs when he comes back out of the water guarding the mother’s lair alive, which can be juxtaposed to the idea of floating up out of the water when baptized. The fulfillment of the dangerous task and thus the third stage of initiation immediately leads to the fourth, which is the reward from the task. Beowulf’s reward for slaying Grendel’s mother came in the forms of jewels and treasure from Hrothgar, along with a higher honor and reputation. Immediately following the battle, Beowulf returned with the sword hilt of Hrunting and Grendel’s slain head. With all the criteria fulfilled, Beowulf was ready for return.

The final stage of Campbell’s hero journey is return, where the hero returns to where he began as closure of the quest. The first criteria of this stage is “The Road Back,” which is opposite of the “Call to Adventure.” Beowulf fulfills this stage by traveling back to his home with the Geats with ships filled with treasure from Hrothgar. Beowulf returns home with validation of his confidence and strength to be presented with the name of a ruler after King Hygelac dies. Following “The Road Back” is “Resurrection,” where the hero faces his final encounter with death. The battle in itself is a representation of a larger symbol that plays into the hero’s overall existence. In Beowulf, this is seen as the final battle between Beowulf and the dragon, which wreaks havoc on the Geats after 50 years of peace. Although Beowulf dies as a result of this battle, the dragon itself was supposed to symbolize death, and the true meaning of the battle would not have been fulfilled had Beowulf survived. The battle alone fulfills the “Resurrection” criteria of the return stage, and Beowulf’s death fulfills the final criteria in Campbell’s hero archetype altogether, which is “Return with the Elixir.” The Elixir is the lesson of death itself, which can only be fulfilled with Beowulf’s death. The overall lesson of this battle is that the hero’s journey will always and inevitably end with death, and the dragon symbolized the unconquerable monster that every individual will eventually face. Had Beowulf not died, he would not be considered a hero in the first place.

Beowulf’s journey to become a traditional hero is non-traditional in the sense that instead of the journey encompassing a quest in which the hero returns to live a “happily ever after,” Beowulf’s journey was the journey of life itself, beginning with his departure to fight Grendel. He was a hero in the journey of life. This can be recognized as the most significant link between the readers and Beowulf: his story is reflective of the battles that people fight every day. Unlike other heroic stories, Beowulf’s connected with me in regards to his battles, especially with the last one being a symbol of death.

As Beowulf himself declares, “death is not easily escaped from by anyone: all of us with souls, earth-dwellers and children of men, must make our way to a destination already ordained where the body, after the banqueting, sleeps on its deathbed” (1001-1007). The journey of a hero is his journey between life and death, encompassing all of the battles that he had faced to turn him into the character that he becomes when he dies. Beowulf’s journey of the archetypal hero is a representation of individual struggles we face, making humans heroes of our own life. Through Beowulf, we learn that death is the ultimate monster that overcomes us, and the quality of life is determined by the extent to which we live it.

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283

The Concept Of Chivalry And Its Existence In Modern Times

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

While chivalry was characterized as an ethical, religious social code of noble and courtly conduct in medieval times, it has changed over time to be something less formal but still very relevant. The origin of chivalry “derives from old French as chevalerie, which is loosely translated to horse soldiery. Initially, the term referred only to horse-mounted men due to the term cheval translating to the word, horse, but later it progressed to relating to knightly deeds”. The definition of chivalry can also be found among, The Code of Chivalry. The Code of Chivalry was a moral system created to name knights as honorable. Not only were they expected to be brave and fearless, but they were also expected to be kind to all women and children. Chivalry in the Medieval Times had a very strict definition. It was so strict, that it had it’s very own codes that must be followed to be chivalrous.

In the story, Beowulf, the main character Beowulf can be described as the definition of chivalry. Within the story he followed The Code of Chivalry to the best of his ability. He showed many heroic traits and presented himself as a hero. For example, “Thus Beowulf bore himself with valour; he was formidable in battle yet behaved with honour and took no advantage”. This quote within the text goes to demonstrate that even when battling for his life he remained a chivalrous individual. Within the story, Beowulf is described to the highest esteem as a hero. A Danish coast-guard says, “Nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms on this earth than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, he is truly noble. This is no mere hanger-on in a hero’s armour’. Beowulf’s character as a hero is obvious to the Danish coast-guard just from taking a gander at him. Beowulf, while not a perfect person, is a very chivalrous person and is a hero through and through. Chivalry is the code of respect perceived by knights in the Middle Ages. Knights should carry on decently toward one another by observing certain principles. In general, knights were relied upon to serve God, ensure the feeble and honest, and be courageous and fair in conflicts.

While the story Beowulf originates before thoughts of Chivalry which was created during the Middle Ages, Beowulf displays these characteristics all through the epic poem. In his endeavors to spare Herot from Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. Beowulf showed chivalry in almost all of his actions. An example of this is when Beowulf defeats the dragon. Beowulf says, ‘I would rather not use a weapon if I knew another way to grapple with the dragon and make good my boast as I did against Grendel in days gone by. But I shall be meeting molten venom in the fire he breathes, so I go forth in mail-shirt and a shield’. This quote shows how honorable Beowulf is in a fight. He makes it clear to the readers that he doesn’t want to enter a fight with any advantages. Beowulf wants to win fights honorably which shows that Beowulf is chivalrous. Another example of Beowulf’s chivalrous bravery is when he finally defeated the dragon. “Inspired again by the thought of glory, the war-king threw his whole strength behind a sword-stroke and connected with the skull”. This quote shows how even in Beowulf’s weakest moments where he is dying from a fatal wound filled with poison, he has the strength to kill the dragon, Beowulf not only lived a hero’s life, he died a hero.

As shown by the definition of chivalry and examples from the text of Beowulf, chivalry was very important in the medieval times, but what is chivalry now? Is Chivalry dead? The answer is no. Chivalry is not dead but very much alive. It is displayed in a very different manner but chivalry still lives on. For example gentleman still open the door for women. This small act of kindness is still around, and shows courtesy and chivalry to women. Nowadays since women now have more rights, some signs of chivalry in medieval times or just dated back from right now, can come across as sexist and rude. Yet, chivalry still exists. This just goes to show that chivalry didn’t die, it just changed and morphed with society. Being chivalrous nowadays means “Chivalry spells out certain ethical standards that foster the development of manhood. Men are called to be: truthful, loyal, courteous to others, helpmates to women, supporters of justice, and defenders of the weak. They are also expected to avoid scandal.” This is similar to the ideas in medieval times, just modernized to fit the qualifications for our society now. Chivalry as shown is not dead, and will continue to live on in many different ways.

Chivalry is displayed in many ways. Whether it is in medieval times where there is a Code Of Chivalry to follow, or in modern times where it can be as simple as opening a door, chivalry exists all over. Beowulf is a perfect example of how chivalry existed in medieval times. He showed bravery, honesty, integrity and all things a chivalrous person must have to meet the Code of Chivalry. While chivalry was much more prominent in medieval times, it still exists and will continue to exist. Chivalry is showing common decency to people and being kind and respectful, especially to women. Chivalry does exist and will continue to exist.

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271

Beowulf – A Hero Of Ancient Scandinavia

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

While life was harsh and bleak in Scandinavia during the Dark Ages, people were much the same as today and the stories they told then are, in essence, the same as the ones we tell today. In modern America everyone knows that Batman guards Gotham City and fights the villains therein. Like Batman, Beowulf is the superhero of ancient Scandinavia, who battles with monsters and dragons. Beowulf is an epic hero, whose story is uplifting and cathartic to its audience.

Beowulf, the dauntless warrior, wise advisor, and great king is truly unlike any real person; he is even unique among epic heroes. He’s not a relatable character, nor is he supposed to be. He is designed to be a perfect person who can beat any enemy. He can fight dragons with only a sword and shield, sea monsters with only a dagger, dive for hours to reach the bottom of a lake. Unlike other epic heroes, his personal flaws are not detailed. His hardships are not of his own. Unlike Hercules attempting to right the wrongs of his past, Beowulf is simply saving others, because they are helpless without him.

Although Beowulf is not a relatable character, the story was tailored to suit its audience. The settings of stories have to be relatable or no one will want to hear them. The original story of Beowulf is a pagan tale, but when written down in 1000 AD by a Christian monk the story was adapted to appeal to a christian audience. Beowulf’s motivations and actions stem from his pagan values, displaying the dismembered arm and head of Grendel, his obsession with the treasure of the dragon, and his boastful nature are but a few of his non-christian behaviors. But when written by a christian author, who didn’t want to change the actions of the hero, we see Beowulf give credit to God for many of his successes. This adaption allows the story to relate to audiences over time.

The timeless tale of Beowulf was important to its ancient culture, because more than anything else it was cathartic. Life was difficult, if not grueling, for these people. Defeat was common. Against all challenges, Beowulf was victorious. Beowulf could be killed only by a dragon, which also died. Even in this, his last battle, Beowulf remained the victor for he rid his people of any future threat from the dragon and was able to feast his eyes upon the dragon’s bountiful treasure during his last moments on earth.

Beowulf is the classic epic narrative with a larger than life protagonist, whose opposition is evil itself. His actions display the values of the people he represents and his endless success and bravery are the ideals of people throughout time. He faces adversity with valor and conviction which lead him to a life of honor and glory even beyond death.

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146

Why Beowulf Is Not An Anglo-Saxon Hero

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The heroism portrayed by Anglo-Saxon heroes was defined by many different and diverse qualities. Most importantly, heroic figures in German history all shared one trait — they are all extremely selfless and put others before themselves. While some may argue that Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon hero considering his selflessness demonstrated by fighting against the dragon, nevertheless, throughout the story, Beowulf continuously exemplifies his conceited nature of selfishness, making him a hero to a small extent.

First of all, due to his greed to secure his name and fame, Beowulf impulsively decides to fight against the dragon, bringing a bleak future for the Geats as they lost their beloved king of the past fifty years, thus proving he is not a hero. After he is told that the dragon was brutally attacking his people and the throne room of the Geats burnt down into ashes, Beowulf speaks, “Now I am old, but as king of this people I shall pursue this fight for the glory of winning”. Without taking the serious consequences into account, Beowulf immediately gathers the best weapons and armor he could find for preparation, announcing that he is going to fight once more. By doing so, he would be able to gain his wanted fame by killing the dragon, as he states “fight for the glory of winning”. This highlights Beowulf’s strong desire to maintain his legendary appearance as a heroic figure.

However, he underestimates the dragon’s ability to fight. Although he kills the dragon and brought the people peace and treasure, he is bitten on the neck and died from the dragon’s poison. To secure his glory, he orders his comrade to bring back the treasure to share with his men. Instead of enjoying the treasure their king brought them, the Geats burnt his last gifts, “they let the ground keep that ancestral treasure […] as useless to men now as it ever was”. As evidenced, Beowulf’s decision of fighting the dragon disappoints his people. Although the king himself thinks that his treasure would be helpful towards his people, it claims that the treasure is “useless”, suggesting Beowulf’s sacrifice is unnecessary from the Geats’ perspective. After Beowulf dies, the kingdom is immediately led to an unknown future without their experienced king who ruled for fifty years. As illustrated, Beowulf’s selfishness blinds him from taking the responsibility of leading his people. Instead, he fought the dragon for his desire for glory, resulting in a collapse of his kingdom.

Opponents may suggest that Beowulf should be categorized as an Anglo-Saxon hero due to his selflessness expressed as he cut off Grendel’s corpse in memorial for the fallen comrades during his battle with Grendel’s mother. Admittedly, Beowulf does determine for revenge for Grendel’s acts he committees and later cuts off his head to settle scores. Yet, as Beowulf returns home and celebrates his victory with his people, it is stated that Beowulf’s “courage was proven” and “his glory was secure”.

By presenting Grendel’s corpse to the people and Hrothgar, Beowulf elevated his fame and secured his glory as he did not only kill Grendel’s mother, he also got revenge on Grendel for all the innocent lives Grendel took away. Evidently, instead of bringing Grendel’s cut corpse in memorial of his lost comrades, Beowulf puts his ambition before his people. The demonstration of his self-centered nature once again proves his disqualification to be considered an Anglo-Saxon hero.

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176

Essay Comparison Of The Epic Hero Beowulf And Modern Hero Iron Man

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

An epic hero is a character in an epic poem that has conquered dangerous situations/adventures and has shown an endless amount of courage. Epic heroes are commonly born from noble families, exhibit immense strength, and often fight supernatural beings. When comparing both Beowulf and Iron Man we see that these character traits are similar for both heroes. Both Beowulf and Iron Man’s fathers have left behind a positive legacy, are strong mentally and physically in their own ways, and have fought a large number of vital forces.

Beowulf and Iron man both have family members that were recognized for their nobility. Beowulf was the son of Ecgtheow who “was a famous man, a noble warrior – lord. He outlasted many long winters and went on his way. All over the world men wise in counsel continued to remember him”. His father’s nobility paved way for the respect that he himself would receive along with his individual accomplishments. He was also given good word by Hrothgar who he sailed for when he was a young boy. Similarly, Iron man or Tony Stark is the son of Howard Stark who was heir to a railroad dynasty and used his vast talents in science to expand and enrich the family business. He and his father founded Stark Industries, which specialized in engineering and technology, eventually gaining a widespread reputation as a company on the cutting edge.” After his father’s death Tony inherited his wealth and continued his legacy. He continued to improve and build his father’s business and created the Without his father’s past and business, Tony most likely would not have has the resources to invent Iron Man or have the intelligence or skills he is known for having. These two hero’s families laid the foundations for the success that the two men would later accomplish.

Another comparable characteristic between both Beowulf and Iron Man would be their strength physically and mentally. Beowulf is known for fighting large monsters with pure strength and no weapons. For example, Beowulf refused to use weapons in his fight with Grendel stating “I have heard moreover that the monster scorns in his reckless ways to use weapons, I hereby renounce sword and the shelter of the broad shield, the heavy war-board: hand to hand is how it will be”. An average person would not be able to fight a beast such as Grendel with his bare hands and rip his arm off let alone kill him. Beowulf is not only physically strong, but he is also very courageous and fearless. Beowulf knows going into each battle that there is a possibility that he won’t win or return. He leaves the possibility of his death and the chances of him getting injure to fate. Most people unlike Beowulf would not risk their lives or even consider battling a demon such as Grendel. Similarly, Iron man uses his strength to his advantage when fighting his opponents. However, a major difference between him and Beowulf would be that Iron man uses a heavy-duty suit. His suit is not only strong, but it contains many supportive features such as “self-contained environment, assorted onboard weapons systems, enhanced strength, flight, and various communications arrays and sensors (such as radar and radio). Furthermore, they typically have multiple power sources including a secondary solar energy collection function in the event that conventional-recharging methods are unavailable “and more (“Iron Man’s Armor”). Like Beowulf, Iron man fights his opponents with the risk of becoming severely injured and risking his life. He relies on his suit and knowledge to keep him alive.

Epic heroes such as Beowulf and Iron man battle supernatural creatures or humans that appear to be much stronger and powerful than themselves. For example, in Beowulf’s youth he “battled and bound five beasts, raided a troll-nest, and in the night-sea slaughtered sea-brutes”. His more known fights were with a human eating demon named Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and an angry fire breathing dragon. Similarly, Iron Man has fought many villains such as Whiplash, Obadiah Stane, Aldrich Killian, and Thanos. The mortal creatures or villains that the two heroes have fought in the past typically appear very powerful, want vengeance, and hope to terrorize many. In most cases the hero is able to conquer the villain and leave the fight with a few scratches and bruises, but in the heroes very last fight they are severely injured and die in battle. In Beowulf’s case, he was able to successfully defeat Grendel and his mother but was severely injured by the dragon leading to his death. On the other hand, Iron man was also able to defeat many of his opponents such as Whiplash and Obadiah Stane but was injured during his combat with Thanos and died. However, a major difference between Beowulf’s fight with Grendel and Iron Man’s fight with Thanos was that in the moments of Iron Man’s death he was not directly fighting Thanos himself but was trying to destroy a weapon he made.

To conclude the essay, epic heroes and modern heroes share many of the same qualities and characteristics. They are shaped by their families and backgrounds, known for their physical and mental strength, and for battling large beast and villains. Without these heroes there would be no one to protect or solve problems that the average man could not handle on his own. 

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158

Analysis Of The Pride Of Beowulf

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

For several stories, the protagonists’ pride is usually shown and explained by the narrator or secondary characters. Yet in Anglo-Saxons’ Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, his pride is boosted by himself; he takes satisfaction in knowing he is letting everyone know of his value and importance to the world. Before each battle, he showed up with such a pretentious manner of fighting and boasting.

In the beginning of Beowulf’s journey through life, he is considered a great warrior. While he is a hero who includes, loyalty, courtesy and slight maturity whilst perfecting his values and manner; Beowulf is quite boastful and cocky. As Unferth is scared of Grendel and does not oppose a threat, Beowulf has no fear towards him. Just like Unferth who still doubted Beowulf’s fighting abilities, he commented, “When it comes to fighting, i count myself / as dangerous any day as Grendel”. Since he does not like when people do not believe in him, Beowulf is easily taking upon challenges to prove himself and his worth. He soon becomes too boastful of himself that several of the people tend to disbelieve in his capabilities. Yet, he is convinced Grendel, “will find me different”. As he defeats his strong opponent, Beowulf is pleased with the glory given to him afterwards and continues to fight only to maintain the glory seeking he receives after completing his challenges.

Towards the end of the Epic, Beowulf is older and wiser. Whilst his pride does not let him down about his battles, soon enough he encounters one who he will not be able to defeat. With his encounter with the dragon, it shows how mature he is. Just how anyone would be after growing up, Beowulf decides to reflect on the responsibilities of a king who does not just act for himself and his glorification, but also for the good of his people. As some people’s characteristics do not grow like their age, Beowulf’s ego and boastfulness continued to stay a part of him. Before they reach his opponents lair, his ego becomes more evident as he says, “What I mean to, here, no man but me / could hope to defeat this monster” while reluctantly telling his own men, “this fight is not yours / nor is it up to any man except me”. Once he sets out to fight his battle with the dragon, Beowulf overlooks his own death, while being more concerned with his own fame and honor. As his weapons and armor fail him, Beowulf gracefully meets his end. Even after his hand in hand killing of the dragon, Beowulf continues to seek for glory. He pleads for his people to build a tower in his memory: “It will loom on the horizon at Hronesness / and be a reminder among my people”. Beowulf wants to leave with his fame being known by everyone since a simple memory of him does not enough to please him.

Beowulf has always been a strong hero, yet each monster he faced helped contribute to the development of his own character. Pride is considered to be fueled by one’s accomplishments and self-esteem, yet his presence was not known by enough that he continuously accepted battles to gain more glory.

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236

What Qualities Must A Hero Retain

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

How do we determine a hero? Whether it be one who puts their own life at risk for the sake of someone else’s, to one who lends a helping hand, our world consists of heroes. Throughout the poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, the reader is continuously reminded of Beowulf’s supernatural strength, fearlessness, and how he fights to protect people. As if this was not enough, Beowulf never ceases to be seen displaying courage, loyalty, generosity, hospitality, chivalry, and maintains a good reputation by having good political skill during his reign as king. With such honorable qualities, it does not require much thought to come to the conclusion that Beowulf can be characterized as a hero. Beowulf’s admirable traits are displayed through three major battles throughout the poem, where Beowulf faces two demons and a dragon. Beowulf exemplifies Anglo Saxon culture. When Beowulf is informed that Heorot is being terrorized by a demon, he gathers fourteen of his men to sail to the foreign kingdom of the Danes to accept the battle. Before the battle takes place, the poet gives a description of Beowulf’s appearance. “There was no one else like him alive. In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, highborn and powerful” (Heaney lines 196-198). This is the author’s recognition of Beowulf’s incredible strength. Later,when they arrive at Denmark, they get off of their ship without fear, gaining the attention of the watchman, who claims he has never seen men come on the shore without taking precautions. “Never before has a force under arms disembarked so openly– not bothering to ask if the sentries allowed them safe passage or the clan had consented. Nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms on this earth than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, he is truly noble” (Heaney lines 244-250). This coast guard claims to have never seen such bravery among men carrying weapons who step on foreign soil without consent of the land, or without guaranteed safety. The coast guard notices Beowulf’s massive stature, and claims to have never seen someone of such strength.

Shortly after, Beowulf proves his loyalty to king Hrothgar by explaining his personal family ties to the king. “In his day, my father was a famous man, a noble warrior-lord named Ecgtheow. He outlasted many long winter nights and went on his way. All over the world men wise in counsel continue to remember him. We come in good faith to find your lord and nation’s shield, the son of Halfdane. . . We have arrived here on a great errand to the lord of the Danes, and I believe therefore there should be nothing hidden or withheld between us” (Heaney lines 262-272). Only later is the reader able to discover Hrothgar’s generosity towards Ecgtheow, where Beowulf is in debt to him. However, Beowulf boasts about his father, showing that he is of good lineage, and comes to aid the Danes in the battle between Grendel, and furthers his cause by saying there should be nothing hidden between the Danes and the Geats. Belated,Beowulf and his men are granted access to speak to Hrothgar, where Hrothgar’s herald and officer states, “I have never seen so impressive or large an assembly of strangers. Stoutness of heart, bravery not banishment, must have brought you to Hrothgar” (Heaney lines 336-339). Hrothgar’s herald, Wulfgar, concedes that Beowulf is brave. The word he uses to describe Beowulf’s heart, stout, has two meanings that can both be applied to this given situation. One defines a person as somewhat fat or of heavy build, while the other describes the actions or qualities of someone as brave and determined, both applicable to Beowulf.

Even when he is opposed, Beowulf does not counter with hate. When Unferth mocks Beowulf and taunts him for losing a fight to Breca, Beowulf defends himself by telling the truth behind the story. As described by Beowulf, “Often for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked. However it occurred, my sword had killed nine sea-monsters. Such night dangers and hard ordeals I have never heard of nor of a man more desolate in surging waves. But worn out as I was, I survived, came through with my life” (Heaney lines 572-579). Though Unferth, as jealous as he was, lashed out in an attempt to bring down Beowulf, Beowulf responded with telling his version of the story in a mature manner, showing gratitude for his life. Now that Beowulf had boasted about himself, he could not lose the battle with Grendel without his reputation being ruined. Beowulf’s culture valued strength and courage in battle. ‘Instead, I shall grab and grapple with Grendel, fighting for life with that fearsome foe.

Whomever death takes, his doom is doubtless decreed by the Lord. If I let this creature best me when battle…He will freely feast…’ (Heaney lines 386-93). Beowulf takes on the challenge, and lets it be known that he is not afraid to lose his life. Not only is he not afraid of losing, but he places his life in the hands of God, claiming that in the end, it would be in God’s favor, whichever way the battle ends. Though just the beginning, there have been numerous descriptions and acknowledgements of Beowulf’s size and strength, however the reader is able to gain a better understanding of just how powerful Beowulf is through his first battle with the demon Grendel. Beowulf is brave and fair, fighting Grendel without any armor. “And the Geat placed complete trust in his strength of limb and the Lord’s favour. He began to remove his iron breast-mail, took off the helmet and handed his attendant the patterned sword, a smith’s masterpiece, ordering him to keep the equipment guarded” (Heaney lines 669-674). Again, he acknowledges how his fate is in God’s hands, meaning he is conscious that God is more powerful than him. When Grendel attacks Heorot, he preys on Beowulf, but soon realizes that he made a mistake, though Beowulf wears no armor or bears any weapons. Engaged in hand-to-hand combat, Grendel tries to flee when he is mortally wounded; his shoulder began to tear until his arm had been ripped off. “The captain of evil discovered himself in a handgrip harder than anything he had ever encountered in any man on the face of the earth. Every bone in his body quailed and recoiled, but he could not escape. He was desperate to flee to his den and hide with the devil’s litter, for in all his days he had never been clamped or cornered like this. Fingers were bursting, the monster back-tracking, the man overpowering” (Heaney lines 749-760). Looking a little deeper into Grendel’s background, it has been told that on the first night he attacked heorot, he had killed thirty men, and altogether had taken them back to his lair. This implies a great lot of supernatural strength, where he then continues his raids for twelve years while the people of Heorot live in fear of him.

Throughout his encounter with Beowulf, it is stated numerous times that he is overwhelmed by Beowulf, tries to escape, and has never been in combat with a man with such strength as Beowulf. “The captain of evil discovered himself in a handgrip harder than anything he had ever encountered with any man. . . for in all his days he had never been clamped or cornered like this. . . he was overwhelmed, manacled tight by the man of all men was foremost the strongest in the days of his life”. . . “he could not escape. . . he was desperate to flee to his den and hide. . . the dread of the land was desperate to escape”. Beowulf’s men came to Beowulf’s aid, but to no avail. Unbeknownst to them, a curse was set upon Grendel, making weapons of no use against him. “Time and again, Beowulf’s warriors worked to defend their lord’s life, laying about them as best they could with their ancestral blades. . . When they joined the struggle there was something they could not have known at the time, that no blade on earth, no blacksmith’s art could ever damage their demon opponent” (Heaney line 793-803). This alone proves that Beowulf, and Beowulf alone, had killed Grendel, who had supernatural strength. “The monster’s whole body was in pain, a tremendous wound appeared on his shoulder. Sinews split and the bone-lappings burst. Beowulf was granted the glory of winning; Grendel was driven under the fen-banks, fatally hurt, to his desolate lair” (Heaney lines 814-820). On all accounts of this battle, Beowulf has exhibited bravery, supernatural strength, loyalty, supernatural strength, and risks his own life in order to serve and protect a kingdom foreign to him.

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196

Beowulf: a Great Hero Of Our Time

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Beowulf: Hero Comparisons and Differences Then and Now

Beowulf is an excellent story of good verses evil. The story is both fantasy and reality of the ideal qualities a hero should possess. Although the story was written many moons ago, it serves as a great source of reference for what a would be hero should strive to achieve in modern times. Although Beowulf was a great hero of his time, how would he compare to today’s heroes? How are today’s heroes the same and how are they different?

The author of this story knew what he was doing when he chose not to take recognition. What I am trying to say is that Beowulf was a truly great man and a very inspiring story. By not taking credit for writing it, allows for interpretation of characters rather then the author’s intent. People need heroes and Beowulf was a character one could look up too. He was very brave and he loved his kingdom. He would do anything in his power to protect them from evil. He was also very loyal to his men and in battle he would not allow any of them to die in vain. Beowulf was a true warrior and a true hero. Even by today’s standards.

People today are always judging others to see if they measure up to a preconceived idea of what they believe a hero’s attributes should be. In Beowulf’s day heroes were mainly the protectors of the country. They were warriors and kings. But today with everyone having a preconceived idea about heroes, some people choose to look up to celebrities and athletes. Others even choose to elect their heroes in a democratic election even though that person whom they have elected has never served a day in the armed forces guarding their country. These people believe that if a person can make them more money then that person is a hero at least in their mind. In Beowulf’s day if the people thought that way then they would soon find themselves being ruled by a tyrant and any extra money they might be so lucky to earn would be given to their new king. Many people today are content with reaping the rewards earned by others so long as it doesn’t effect them. They are content with hiding out and remaining quiet. If Beowulf was alive today to see their cowardness he would surely find a way to teach them a lesson. I don’t believe he would foresaken them because he was always faithful to his countrymen and he put their needs above his own.

Personalities and job titles have changed but some heroic attributes haven’t changed. In the United States instead of a king we have a president. Some of his duties are much like Beowulf’s duties were. He must still keep up with the foreign affairs including wars in order to protect our country. He must also be able to foresee any affect that foreign affairs might have on the country in the long run. It is our president’s responsibility to ensure that our military divisions, including the airforce, navy, army, and marines are prepared and able to defend our nation or our nation’s allies in time of war. Of course our president also rents out rooms in the White house to visiters and Beowulf would have let them stay as guests for free in the castle, but this is primarily a cultural difference and lets hope it is a short lived cultural trend. The story of Beowulf also speaks about the historic background of the Germanic people. Throughout the story great examples of how people should conduct themselves are given. The story defines a hero by telling a story of one who was victorious in battle and unafraid in death. It is centered around respect and qualities of a person such as honor and bravery. Times have changed for us for many people in the United States it is better to be an athlete who possesses these qualities only during an event when people are watching and when they aren’t the athletes tend to be content with their big salaries and attending big parties in order to keep their popularity high. For they know that as long as they are rich and famous then people will look up to them and in their minds this makes them wise men for others seek their approval.

Beowulf possessed many super human powers, at least he was able to call on them in his time of need. This mystique is what helps to hold how attention. Beowulf began as a humble man who did not have very much money. He was honest and had a big heart. He was content letting others boast of valor and wouldn’t think of challenging someone for the accuracy of their tales. It is only by chance that Beowulf is even discovered as the rightful heir to the throne. But he never forgets his humble beginnings. This is true even today when our country has been at war many a silent hero has emerged. There have been many selfless acts performed in order to save a fallen comrad. People who never thought of themselves as a hero risked death so that others might live. Some of these men have gone on to be very successful in business but they have never forgotten where they came from. This is evedent every year on Veterans Day you can see bike rallies, parades, and special functions given in honor of the men and woman that have defended our country and at each of these events you will find the true heroes telling others in their speeches that what they did they did because we are all Americans. Rich or poor if you allowed one to die because you were to scared to help him then what right do you have to be free? They give inspiring speeches and tell others how they might be able to contribute to the war efforts even if they don’t physically pick up a weapon. Mental support and encouragement are very important to a soldier. Beowulf had the support of his kingdom and that helped to inspire the other knights to continue to press on. Of course his men weren’t always as brave as he might have liked but he never stopped setting the example of what a true hero is to be. This brought much humility and shame upon his knights and many were re-inspired and returned to fight with honor. It is the duty of any great hero to be able to inspire others to do the right thing even when your mind is telling you to run. The hero will tell you to listen to your heart. This was true in Beowulf’s time and it is still true today.

Today people don’t want to think of combat as a way of determining who is a hero and who possess the necessary skills to kill someone. Perhaps this is why Americans and even the world are turning to athletes to find their heroes. As a parent myself I would not want to think of my child as having to go to combat in order to achieve hero status. I would hope that there are other examples that my child could look up to. I know that in Beowulf’s day there were no other examples because the kingdom was always being threatened by outside forces and fighting was a way of life. Today an athlete who stands up and tells children that if they want to succeed in life then they shouldn’t use drugs in my eyes is a hero. This is because there are a great number of negative influences out there that. You can’t see them but they are evil just as the evil forces that threatened Beowulf’s kingdom these forces threaten ours. Whether it is drugs, which craft, communism, or what ever, if a great athlete can take time out to send a positive message to the public and inspire them to make the right decision then they are considered to be a hero.

Beowulf risked his life many times in order to protect his fellow knights and warriors. He always did his part on the battlefield just as each of his men did theirs. He knew teamwork was important. Today there are many other heroes who also believe in teamwork. The silent heroes, the ones you never hear about. They are the teachers who work with our children everyday, they know that everyone must be on the same sheet of music in order for the message to be clear. The firemen who risk their lives everyday, they know how important teamwork is for if they don’t do their part then someone might die. Policemen who help to make our streets safer also know of the importance of teamwork, and to each of these groups not a single hero emerges because they are all heroes. Just as the brave knights that fought along side Beowulf are also heroes.

Beowulf selflessly attempts to dispose of the dragon in order to alleviate the fears of his people. His own men because of fear abandon him when they were faced with the dragons fire. All except for one, Wiglaf who was another great warrior tried to save Beowulf’s life but was unable too. He did manage though to avege his death by killing the dragon himself. Later Wiglaf becomes king and fulfills Beowulf’s last request by building a tall monument in which Beowulf’s treasures and ashes remain. The tower serves as a guide to saiors in directing them for safe passage. That tower is the final gift to his people. By todays standards Beowulf is a true hero. For many people have followed his example. Many a wealthy person has died and willed their belongings to a hospital or a charity in order to help others after they have gone.

I guess all in all Beowulf as a hero of his time would still be a great hero of our time. He has shown us that a hero is not a hero because he is wealthy or popular. A hero is someone who through their selfless acts have improved the quality of life for others, and Beowulf shows us that it is never to late to become a hero. Of course many may argue that the story is to far fetched and there is no way a person in modern times can compare to Beowulf. But I say to them that believe this that it is true that he was able to receive special powers in order to stay under water for long periods of time and he had special armor that protected him from harm, he also had a brain and mighty courage. Today we are able to call on special powers that will give us super human strength and we can also call on this source to provide us with more courage and wisdom. Today we call this the power of God. Maybe Beowulf as a hero back then is not so different then the heroes of today. Jesus is a good example of a timeless hero.

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405

The Main Characteristics Of an Epic Hero Beowulf

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

The main characteristics of an epic hero that Beowulf shows is brave deeds, he is a strong and responsible leader, risks his life for the greater good of his people and his kingdom, has a great amount of courage, his inhuman strength, and his faith and gratitude.

Strong and responsible leader

Beowulf stepped up for his people and his men and risked his own life to defeat the dragon. He sacrificed his own life so that his people could live peacefully again.

Courage

Beowulf’s courage comes from his ability to fight on, even after all but one of his men abandon him at his final battle. Beowulf is left dying, but he does not try to escape but he sits and waits for his end. Beowulf sits awake in uncertainty of what comes in the depths of the everlasting night. This shows that Beowulf has a lot of courage. Beowulf risks his life for the greater good of his people and his kingdom.

Brave deeds

Beowulf swims against Brecca. Beowulf is dragged to the bottom of the sea by a monster. He ends up killing nine monsters during this.

Beowulf without armor

Beowulf kills Grendel. He does this without any armor. Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother. Beowulf also kills the dragon. Even though his men left him and he still attempted to battle. Beowulf stepped up and called his men together and convinced them to battle when they were needed. He is also full of fear, but with courage he is able to control this fear. He thought more about his people than he thought about himself. Beowulf fights for those who are not his people, but he fights as if the people of Herot were his own.

Also when Beowulf fights the dragon, he sees the great amount of treasure as a win for his people.

Inhuman strength

Beowulf is able to defeat Grendel who is much bigger than he is and rips his arm completely off. He is also able to defeat Grendel’s mother. She is about to defeat him but then he finds a sword. He uses the sword to decapitate Grendel’s mother and to behead the corpse of Grendel.

Faith and gratitude

Beowulf is a man of deep personal faith. Before his battle he offers a prayer. After the fight with the monster, he gives credit to God, who, He says has allowed him to kill the monster. Beowulf is defined by his strength, courage, his sense of honor and loyalty, and by his religious faith.

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