Heroism is a theme that has appeared throughout history in the literature of different civilizations. Heroes represent the principles and ideals associated with the varying morals of each individual society. The literature of Mesopotamia and Western Europe is a prime example of this. Beowulf, an Anglo-Germanic tale and The Epic of Gilgamesh, of the Sumerians, demonstrate perfectly, the ability of civilizations to convey the values and customs of their society through their literature.
The setting for Beowulf is Scandinavia, before the time Christianity had spread its course. Beowulf, the title character is the hero in this tale. He possesses many of the typical heroic traits such as strength, courage, loyalty and the ability to conquer evil. A “superhero,” by today’s standards, Beowulf proves these characteristics in the confrontations he has during this legend. His strength is said to be that of thirty men. Beowulf is confident about his strength, not hesitating to boast of his accomplishments. Even to Hrothgar, the king, he tells of his great victory in a swimming match. Beowulf encounters monsters many times his size. The great courage that he possesses allows him to fight them with an enormous amount of confidence. Grendel and Grendel’s mother are slain by Beowulf. The dragon, although is dies, also mortally wounds the always confident Beowulf. Regardless of who Beowulf battles, his courage is a major force in his numerous victories. The last of Beowulf’s qualities, and possibly the most important is his loyalty. Beowulf’s loyalty is always on the side of good. He aligns himself with this side, which happens to be Hrothgar, and the people in which Beowulf rules over when he becomes king. Beowulf’s Loya...
... middle of paper ...
...read of Christianity to the area, is written by a Christian writer, creating the moral and ideas that go along with the Christian way of life. Beowulf seems to be for the people, almost with the feeling that something greater lies in wait for him if he serves his time on earth with honor. Gilgamesh on the other hand has no afterlife to look forward to. The Sumerian religion was that of life and then death. Life was what the people looked forward to, knowing that death brought the end, and there was no way to cheat it.
Both Gilgamesh and Beowulf represent what is of importance to their civilizations. They are heroes and examples of what to strive for in life. The cultural icons that frequent their literature demonstrate the values of these societies. These literary works, can still today, give us insight into the way of life of these ancient civilizations.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Comparative English Essay Compare the Beowulf poet's presentation of the battles with Grendel and his mother with the Gilgamesh poet's depiction of Gilgamesh' battles with Huwawa and the Bull of Heaven. Fame and glory have been the most admirable characteristics in the middle Ages and even before Christ in the ancient civilizations. The epics of Gilgamesh and Beowulf are stories of heroism and immortality gained through fame. The aim of the main characters, Beowulf and Gilgamesh, is to be a good warrior by being courageous, respectful and prudent, a protector and servant to their king (only in the beginning of Beowulf, as he later becomes king and Gilgamesh already is) and their country.... [tags: Comparative Literature]
1988 words (5.7 pages)
- A Comparison of Beowulf and Gilgamesh There are many differences and critical comparisons that can be drawn between the epics of Beowulf and Gilgamesh. Both are historical poems which shape their respected culture and both have major social, cultural, and political impacts on the development of western civilization literature and writing. Before any analysis is made, it is vital that some kind of a foundation be established so that a further, in-depth exploration of the complex nature of both narratives can be accomplished.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1443 words (4.1 pages)
- Civilizations and Heroism in Gilgamesh and Beowulf Heroism is a theme that has appeared throughout history in the literature of different civilizations. Heroes represent the principles and ideals associated with the varying morals of each individual society. The literature of Mesopotamia and Western Europe is a prime example of this. Beowulf, an Anglo-Germanic tale and The Epic of Gilgamesh, of the Sumerians, demonstrate perfectly, the ability of civilizations to convey the values and customs of their society through their literature.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
676 words (1.9 pages)
- Christopher McNutt Dr. Cantrell EN 207.002 12 November 2014 Beowulf vs. Gilgamesh: A Comparison of Equally Epic Proportions When modern readers think of the term “epic hero”, names such as Superman, Batman, and even real life figures such as LeBron James, AJ McCarron, and countless others instantly come into play. All of them have many similarities; they are all “larger-than-life” heroes who display many epic characteristics such as bravery, might, and supreme confidence. However, each is unique in his/her own way.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh, Epic poetry, Beowulf, Enkidu]
1222 words (3.5 pages)
- Heroism in Gilgamesh Heroism entails several things; a selfless act, courage, or the accomplishments of bold and daring expeditions. A hero can often be of divine ancestry. But every hero has faults and these faults along with heroic deeds make the man, or woman; a hero. Gilgamesh loved his friend Enkidu more than he loved himself. A phrase indicating this love for Enkidu is on page 35: "We must go down into the forest together./. . .I will go before you/And protect you. Enkidu followed close behind" This was a selfless act.... [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]
932 words (2.7 pages)
- Heroism in Beowulf A hero is one who is not only strong, but one who uses his strength to uphold others. A hero is humble, philanthropic, magnanimous and selfless, a humanitarian at best. In the unprecedented epic Beowulf, the tale’s namesake exemplifies every characteristic befitting an Anglo-Saxon hero. He is honest, loyal, and courageous. He portrays these characteristics in the battle against Grendel, the affray with Grendel’s mother, and the fight against the dragon that inevitably ended his life.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
517 words (1.5 pages)
- There are many traits that are possessed by those who seek heroism. Whether it is in real life or in fiction, every hero desires these character traits in the past, present, and future. IN my opinion, the two traits that are most prominent in the poem Beowulf are bravery and goodness. In this poem, Beowulf exhibits the trait of bravery by defeating the monster, Grendel. This monster was a very powerful monster that plagued the town of Herot. “He slipped through the door… Snatched up thirty men, smashed them/ Unknowing in their beds and ran out with their bodies/ The blood dripping behind him, back/ To his liar, delighted with his night’s slaughter.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
606 words (1.7 pages)
- Heroism of Beowulf Beowulf was written in the eighth century by an unknown author. The story is centered on Beowulf, the main character, who goes to Denmark to offer his assistance in fighting off, Grendel, the monster who has been haunting them. Beowulf most definitely proves to be a hero. His heroism is exemplified first when he kills Grendel, then when he kills Grendel’s mother, and finally when he kills the dragon, called Worm. This makes him a hero because he risks his own life to save the people of Denmark.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
404 words (1.2 pages)
- A hero is someone who tries the best to help everyone and will do everything in his or her power to help out another person. The term hero means different things to different people. Today many people believe that a hero is a person who can accomplish what others can not or a person who puts themselves on the line for the other people. Men, women and children can all be heroes if they truly feel in their hearts the need to help others in even the smallest ways. In our modern world heroes are defined in so many ways.... [tags: World Literature Epic of Gilgamesh]
1553 words (4.4 pages)
- Beowulf’s author is unknown, as are his motives and inspiration for the creation of the poem. Written some four hundred years before the Norman conquests, it is comprised of three thousand, one hundred and eighty-two lines, dramatically reproducing the timeless struggle between good and evil, along with all the variations that accompany such a story. By far one of the most admirable qualities presented to the reader is the notion of heroism, and the importance of honor. The quality of character was a major element of the heroic man in the world of which the story is set.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
1024 words (2.9 pages)