A broadening perspective of the hero's journey

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The hero's journey is the typical path the hero in a mythological adventure follows and is typically characterized by certain key stages. In the Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, the hero's journey can be characterized through a valiant warrior as he quells evil and protects his people but the hero's journey does not necessarily require itself to be seen through the eyes of a inherently righteous man. A few hundred years later writers still made great use of the hero's journey in their writing but from a different perspective. Christopher Marlowe's 16th century work, Doctor Faustus, follows another form of the hero's journey, the flip side of Beowulf, as one sells his soul to the devil and pursues more evil desires. While both protagonists are entirely different they both remarkably follow the same journey of showing a great division over time in what one might consider to be a hero. The call to adventure is what causes the hero to go off on an adventure into the unknown. "The lord of the Shieldings" suffering became "known" worldwide which brings about Beowulf's call to adventure because as a great warrior he could not allow the "seasons of woe" go on any longer (Beowulf 148-150). The hero within him can easily be seen as he is someone willing to fight for people who are not even his own. At the risk of his own life he sales across seas to combat the powerful demon Grendel. Typically Beowulf is a model for a hero at the time. Acts of bravery and leadership define the hero's that set out on these quests. When Faustus misinterprets the bible and questions what kind of "doctrine" states that one "must die an everlasting death" due to their "sin" this begins his calling to adventure (Marlowe 42,44-45). At this point he begins to turn his ... ... middle of paper ... ...aws in my tears" (Marlowe 39-40,55-56). The reason he cannot fully give himself up to God and acquire forgiveness that he has now shown he knows there is a possibility for is because he cannot feel the repentance needed. Something or someone holds him back from feeling he deserves forgiveness after all he has done. Faustus accredits God for all that he does like Beowulf but he does not become one and finish out his life with God as his master. Beowulf and Faustus both follow a hero's journey but the difference seems to be that Faustus' journey takes more of a tragic turn. He follows the monomyth just as Beowulf and both possess similar qualities but strays down a sinister path. As centuries pass one can see that the perspectives on what a hero could be broadens showing that one can follow the same heroic journey while steering down a distinctly different story line.

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