Herois Tradition throughout British Literature

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Herois Tradition throughout British Literature Throughout British Literature, there are many instances of heroism. To be considered a hero by others in the time period of 449 to 1625, you must be, “noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose: especially, one who has risked or sacrificed his life” (Morris 618). Four characters in British Literature that portray heroic traits are Beowulf, Sir Gawain, Macbeth, and the Knight of The Canterbury Tales. Beowulf shows himself worthy of the title of being a hero when he leaves his country to help a neighboring country, Denmark and rid them of the long lasting fear of a malicious monster known as Grendel. Sir Gawain is considered a hero by many because of his loyalty to King Arthur. He even risks his life so that King Arthur would live and participates in the Green Knights challenge. Although Macbeth has got a few more faults than other heroes have in British Literature, his name is still synonymous with “hero”. Aristotle says “the tragic hero has to fall from grace … after being on top” (Chui 1). Before the three witches tell Macbeth the false prophecies, Macbeth is in held is high accord, yet afterwards, his ambition tears him down and he does anything it takes gain the role of King. The Knight, from The Canterbury Tales, excels beyond all others when it comes to being a hero. He is the most loyal and is admired by the other characters for his courage, bravery in battle and his exploits in war. He is on a religious pilgrimage not to make money or any other avaricious deed that the other characters are on the pilgrimage for, he is on the pilgrimage to worship God, which is also honored by his peers as being heroic. All four characters mentioned have heroic traits and they all are considered heroes. Although they might gain their title in different ways and for the wrong reasons, they are truly heroes. In British Literature, many stories have been influenced by the heroic traditions of their time period. The characters, although in different stories, all portray the heroic tradition in British Literature. The character Beowulf, “a man of great strength and bravery” (Magill 388), is a hero in the way he defends his neighboring country, Denmark. When the word that a hostile creature, known as Grendel, was killing tons in Denmark, Beowulf set sail to help defend the people and rid them of the hideous monster.

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