Better understanding cultures through their literary works
If there is one thing people throughout history have always loved and admired it is the role of the hero in literature. Young children imagine they are Beowulf fighting Grendal to the death and adults sometimes look at the actions of the hero to get an insight on right behavior. As time progressed through the years people's outlook on life has changed a lot and the role of the hero has had to change with it. Some heroes rely on feats of strength to prove their right to the role of hero while others rely more on their chivalric nature and charm to win the role. If you look at certain heroes in the stories "Beowulf" and "The Canterbury tales", you can see through the heroes actions and their outlook on life what life was like and what was important to the peoples of the individual cultures who's writers imagined these fantastic characters and put them to paper.
Certain stories were told orally for generations before someone wrote them down.
This makes the hero character unique because the outlook of the people would have changed during the years before it was written down and the beliefs and actions of the hero would have to change slightly to better connect with the targeted audience. "Beowulf", which was written by an unknown author, is a Anglo Saxon story which had
been told orally for many generations before it was finally written down by a poet in 700 A.D. The story itself gives you a lot of insight into the minds of the people originally responsible for the telling of the story. In the story people live in remote clusters. Visits between towns are rare so they really become dependant on a strong king named Hrothgar and the people living around them. There is a central mead hall named Heorot where the kings throne resides and people can come to relax and hang out with friends while all of the scary things in the night are outside of the light emitted by the hall. This is a...