Honor and the Celtic Heroes Essay

Honor and the Celtic Heroes Essay

Length: 1338 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The honor-code within the Mabinogi, The Tain, and Gantz’s Early Irish Myths and Sagas underlines the ethos of the traditional Celtic hero. Yet, the compliance of the honor-code could be better observed as serving the identity and reputation of the hero rather than a deeper code of morality as it might suggest. The gae bolga, Efnisien, Mider’s love for Etain, and Rhiannon’s magic bag are all instruments of unworldly power, making the impossible possible for each of the heroes. It is because of these supernatural influences that the heroes are both blessed and cursed by power’s perfection. The compliance to the honor-code plays less a role in truly enabling the hero and yet it’s essential in the development of the hero’s identity and reputation among his allies and enemies.
Within The Tain, the warrior Cuchulainn is characterized as a flawless hero, destined to die young. Cuchulainn’s honor to Ulster could easily be measured by the uncountable number of warriors he’s killed with his various skills and gae bolga, yet the killing of his only son Connla and his Foster-brother Ferdia proves to be his most difficult and heroic task. Despite Emer’s plea for Cuchulainn to spare his only son, Cuchulainn provokes the boy to fight him, using his gae bolga to kill him. Cuchulainn’s honor to Ulster through the sacrifice of his son not only grieves him, but all the men of Ulster. (The Tain, p.45) Tragically, the boy expresses the essence of a warrior’s honor to the men of Ulster and to Cuchulainn in obeying his wishes to refuse no man in combat (The Tain, p.33). The boy bids his farewell to the men of Ulster saying, “If only I had five years among you I would slaughter the warriors of the world for you. . . But since it is like this, point me o...


... middle of paper ...


...n’s kingdom for a year and killing Hafgan for Arawn. (The Mabinogi, p.38) And his honor in not talking or sleeping with Arawn’s wife earns him an enduring friendship, gaining him otherworld treasures and the kingship of Annwfn. (The Mabinogi, p.41-42) Even when his wife Rhiannon’s child is abducted and everyone wants him to divorce his wife, he loves her and see’s no fault in her, letting the teachers and men of wisdom decided her punishment. (The Mabinogi, p.51)
Underlining all of the heroes of the Celtic stories is how human they are. Even Taliesin, the divinely inspired poet did not become who he was without stealing the three drops of wisdom. (The Mabinogi, p.163) The Celtic stories not only depict their successes and failures in warfare, discernment, and love, but also their painful sacrifices in attempting to keep the admiration and trust of their kingdoms.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Celtic And Roman Religions Essay

- The Religion of Celts Though there are records of deity names, and archaeological remains including altars, little is known about the specific religious beliefs of the Celts. Their burial practices included burying food, weapons, and ornaments with their dead, which suggests a belief in life after death. The druids, the early Celtic priesthood, were said by Caesar to have taught the doctrine of transmigration of souls along with astronomy and the nature and power of the gods. Transmigration is a philosophy of reincarnation incorporating the specific belief that after death, the soul of a living being is then transferred (or transmigrates) into another living form and thus takes birth again....   [tags: Religion]

Good Essays
1533 words (4.4 pages)

Heroes of Celtic and Germanic Mythology Essay

- Heroes of Celtic and Germanic Mythology Throughout the myths of the Celtic and Germanic peoples of northern Europe tales of epic heroes and their extraordinary deeds abound. These tales depict heroes performing a variety of incredible feats; many of which appear to be magical, superhuman, and, quite honestly, utterly impossible (e.g., wading across oceans, defeating armies virtually single-handedly, and other astounding exploits). Since the Celtic and Germanic tribes of antiquity inhabited neighboring lands and lived in close proximity to one another (as many of their modern descendants continue to do: i.e., in Great Britain), it is not surprising that they often established intimate rela...   [tags: Celtic Germanic Mythology Beowulf Essays]

Good Essays
3690 words (10.5 pages)

Essay on Women in Celtic Literature

- Most readers of the famed Irish and Welsh tales focus on the male characters and their great feats. Celtic literature, however, features a full complement of female characters that deserve recognition; from warriors and rulers, to helpmates and daughters. These women function as either their own entity, or extensions of their male relations. All play crucial roles in their perspective texts, essentially driving the action of the plot and setting into motion a series of events that affect the male characters....   [tags: Celtic Literature]

Good Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

The Celtic Celebration of Samhain and Halloween Essay example

- For this essay I would like to compare and contrast the past and present, in regards to what was once known as the Celtic celebration of Samhain and its present day—somewhat—equivalent, that which is embraced now-a-days in the United States, Halloween. Halloween takes its roots from\the Celtic-pagan celebration called Samhain; although it has also been sculpted by other cultures in the centuries that have past, the Celts are the foundation of the ideas of such a celebration. I would like to establish more of a contrast between the two celebrations: what exists now and here versus what existed then and there....   [tags: Celtic People, Present Holiday]

Good Essays
900 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about Honor in the Iliad and Antigone

- The notion of honor is prevalent throughout the Iliad and Antigone. Both texts demonstrate that honor is essential to Greek heroes because honor is the foundation of the society and family. Homer and Sophocles clearly show that honor guides people’s actions and responses and decides the fate of themselves and others. Both authors also place emphasis on the importance of proper burial because it is a strong indication of honor to the deceased and the deceased’s family. As can be seen in the Iliad and Antigone, the aim of every Greek hero is to gain everlasting honor because it ensures his place in the social memory of his society resounding even after death....   [tags: Honor, Iliad, Antigone,]

Good Essays
991 words (2.8 pages)

Dream Analysis: The Celtic Army Essay

- I had a dream that I was in the time period when there was only swords and shields, (but none of those advanced automatic weapons that we have now). In that time period, I woke up in my bunk remembering that I am an active duty Major in King Ajihad's Army known as the Celtic Army. I also remembered that I was the only person who was half-human and half-elf except my brother, which was the same as me, but was two years younger than me. In the army I commanded a six-person unit; three men and three women (seven people in all if you include me)....   [tags: blue celtic dragons, china]

Good Essays
857 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about Honor as the Theme in Homer’s The Iliad

- There are different forms and examples of exemplary and classic literature which have been deemed as significant works that are highly esteemed worldwide. These examples of literature would awe the world with how much literary skill they entailed when they were composed and written: attention to details as to formation of characters, the most crafty of plots, the most eloquent speeches and lines, the most astounding of twists of scenes, and most of all, the most universal and meaningful of themes....   [tags: Honor, Homer, Iliad]

Good Essays
2018 words (5.8 pages)

Essay about Antigone and Othello: Tragic Heroes

- Othello and Antigone are both tragic heroes. They do great deeds and have great power or strength. For example, Othello defeats Venice's enemies. Antigone makes sure that a Theban right is a Theban due. But fatal character flaws destroy the lives of the two heroes. Both of them suffer from pride and uncontrolled passion. Othello is so proud of his integrity and courage that he doesn't recognize his violent temper and his manipulability by Iago. Antigone is so proud of her commitment to the true, the right, the proper, and the correct that she doesn't respect differing, less passionate opinions....   [tags: Antigone, Othello, tragedy, Heroes,]

Good Essays
971 words (2.8 pages)

Celtic Culture and the Arts Essay

- Celtic Culture and the Arts The legacy the Celts and their culture have bestowed upon the face of civilization is powerful and enduring. With their rich and intriguing history, and their complex and beautiful beliefs, they have been a great influence in many aspects of present day life, from their art and innovations, to deeply rooted traditions modern humanity still continues to preserve. It is through the examination of the Celtic culture as a whole, from their origins, tool usage and inventions, social systems, judicial systems, to their intricate spiritual beliefs that one is able to draw a strong sense of unity and connection to these mysterious people from whom most every Indo-Europe...   [tags: Celtic Traditions Cultural Artists Essays]

Good Essays
4015 words (11.5 pages)

Essay on The Value of Honor

- The Value of Honor            There is a priceless respect that everyone in the world possesses, and that is the respect of a person’s honor. A person’s honor is something that can not be bought, sold, or traded it’s something that must be gained by the respect of your peers. An example of how honor is seen in everyday life in through a persons word. A persons honor is supported by their word, and if they do not uphold their word then they are left with nothing.      To try and explain the personal trait of honor is something that can not be done in a few words, or a sentence....   [tags: Personal Respect Honor]

Good Essays
767 words (2.2 pages)