Hero Archetype: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and Faustus Essays

Hero Archetype: Beowulf, Sir Gawain and Faustus Essays

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A few days later, Doctor Faustus stands in a circle and tells himself to “begin thine incantations” (The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Scene 3. 5). Shortly after reciting the incantations and calling for Mephistopheles, Mephistopheles appears before Doctor Faustus. Mephistopheles explains to Faustus that he cannot serve him as he wishes because he is a “servant to great Lucifer” (The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Scene 3. 33). Even though Faustus cannot have Mephistopheles as his servant, his ambition for the various things he dreamt about are enough to make him sign his life away to Lucifer. Soon after, Faustus signs the agreement in blood and agrees to “give both body and soul to Lucifer prince of the East” ( The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Scene 5. 105). Doctor Faustus signing away his life is a direct result of his tragic flaw and will eventually lead to his downfall. After the twenty-four years have passed, Faustus’ downfall occurs when the devils drag him into the depths of hell. The three characters all suffer from a tragic flaw or hamartia which eventually leads to their downfall, with some characters’ downfall being more severe than the other.
The final hero archetype that the characters will be compared to is the action of leaving to go on an adventure or journey. Beowulf leaves several places and adventures to different places throughout his journey. Beowulf first demonstrates leaving for an adventure when he left Geatland with his men and “they sailed, set their ship/ Out on the waves, under the cliffs” for Herot (Beowulf 210-211). Soon after arriving at Herot, as aforementioned, Beowulf defeats Grendel. His adventure does not stop there, however. Beowulf and his men soon wake to find...


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...I strongly view both as heroes. Beowulf is a hero because of his strength and ability to protect his people no matter what. Beowulf lived in a war-torn country so it makes sense that traits such as strength and bravery are revered. For example, a messenger gives a brief history of their country after the death of Beowulf and says, “These are the quarrels, the hatreds, the feuds,/ That will bring us battles, force us into war/ With the Swedes, as soon as they’ve learned how our lord/ Is dead” (Beowulf 2999-3002). On the other hand, Sir Gawain lived in a time where it was the inner qualities that mattered. The exceptional traits that Sir Gawain embodies made him a hero to his people. In conclusion, although Beowulf, Sir Gawain, and Doctor Faustus all fit the aforementioned hero archetype characteristics; I believe only Beowulf and Sir Gawain qualify as heroes.

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