Essay On Heroism In Beowulf

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The concept of heroism has been explored by every author in every generation of writing. The earliest heroes were “self” described heroes that existed within Greek mythology and gained the actual title “Hero” by completing feats that, while they were humanly possible, were only accomplishable by those at peak human form, both physically and mentally. For as long as heroism has been used in literature, and spoken word, they have all had the common theme of humanity. The most prominent heroes were all human, some were “underdog” heroes starting at a disadvantage, some were a manifestation, or reflection, of the average person of the time, and yet others were supposed to represent the peak of humanity. The hero embodies the ideals of the society but is often helpless at the hands of fate. Let’s start with one of the earliest examples read, in class, and written, as a manuscript, “Beowulf”. Beowulf, the character, is praised constantly for his strength and overall greatness. He is unrelenting on his pursuit of his personal goals. Beowulf is a prince who has the power to slay monsters and rip the arms off of his enemies. He has an almost unbounded sense of strength and his pursuits match it. In Beowulf, there are many examples of Christianity and Pagan ideals “battling it out” to be more prominent in the story. This is because over the hundreds of years of revisions and manuscripts, there is only one left and, for all we know, this is the hundredth one written. The story in this Beowulf manuscript is thought to span changes in religious influence and because of this, Beowulf as a hero is an interesting concept. The argument still stands that he is a great man of great power and awesome strength, but it is in the parts of the story w... ... middle of paper ... ...omes when he decides to devote himself to evil. Although the readers are already invested in him, they begin to cringe, almost for Satan when he makes these decisions. The second “heroes” come into play with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve are not like most human beings of the time. They are not meant to be relatable, because at this time their minds had yet to be sullied by Satan. They represent the peak of virtue. Adam is painted as a strong, rational being with an enormous capacity for understanding almost any concept. Eve, created from Adam’s ribs is slightly inferior to Adam in everything but her beauty, which ends up being her downfall. After the fall, Adam becomes insecure and unsure of himself and Eve contemplates suicide at the thought of losing Adam. All is not lost, however, as they are able to become a powerful unit who share and correct each other’s faults.

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