Essay on The Epic Of Beowulf, The Saga Of One Such Hero

Essay on The Epic Of Beowulf, The Saga Of One Such Hero

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Ancient epics, the stories of heroes and villains, battles of good against evil, creation myths and morality tales, fascinate and intrigue us as a curious species. Passed down orally for millennia before first being recorded on any stone, papyrus, or parchment, these ballads of ancient oral tradition take us away from our ordinary lives and delve us into worlds of legendary figures. Beowulf, the saga of one such hero, most likely finds its origin around the 7th century, and the only known text of the epic was first written down in the 11th century by Christian scribes. Adherent to the Germanic heroic code - a draconian set of principles medieval Norse warriors lived by to secure the honor of their lineage - the poem celebrates the virtues of courage and honor, loyalty and generosity to your kinsmen and allies, and hospitality to all who are noble. It has been asked that the text be examined and an argument made of Beowulf as a “vainglorious and reckless warlord” or a “courageous protector”. I reject the premise of this question. Why is one to be considered to the exclusion of the other? I argue a dichotomy existed with the Germanic heroic code that would have required Beowulf to take action of both vanity and courage. The glory of fame ordered that you obey the laws of the laws of the code.
Fame was the measure of warrior’s identity in the time of Beowulf. The acts of one’s father, and grandfather, and then your own assured your place in history. His lineage that of Earls and Kings, Beowulf of the Geats is driven to take his place in that line. Not any demon nor force of evil were able to stand in the way of a warrior and his pursuit of fame. Sought through feats of bravery and strength with no concern for personal danger, obtain...


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...th, Beowulf’s courage and generosity as well as his great hubris. It seems to me that the narcissistic tendencies of pride and vanity, and the heroic actions of valor and gallantry may be inseparable in the character of Beowulf. The story of a warrior king who honors the fame of his lineage, who protects and provides riches for his people, and who is their leader for 50 years, Beowulf is also the coming of age story of a young warrior who would be king. Impetuous and reckless in adolescent pursuit of glory; a young warrior prince, an ascending hero, on a quest for fame; long ruling wise and fearless warrior King. The Germanic heroic code promoted a fame/shame culture. Shame came to those who did not do a noble warriors deeds, but fame was the intention of any warrior representing his lineage. Pride and vanity inseparable from courage and honor in the sage of Beowulf.

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