Virtue and Community in Beowulf Ramisha Jones ENG 493 January 12, 2015 Michael Angelo Virtue and Community in Beowulf The story of Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that was written in the language of the Anglo-Saxons. It is a fictional story about a heroic hero that was known for his strength and love for the people all around him. He died fighting for his people which are what many of the Anglo-Saxons people viewed as their idea of a hero, Beowulf. Individual virtue and its relationship to the community is very important and much of that is seen in the story of Beowulf. What it means to be good in the world of Beowulf, the relationship between individual prowess or ability and ethical value, the meaning of being a member of the community, the role of the monster in defining virtue and community and the role of language are the importance of individual virtue and its relationship to community are all the many characteristics that can be read in the story of Beowulf.
Epic heroes are different than your standard everyday hero. Scholars have defined and epic hero as a god-like human being. An epic hero, defined by, Dictionary. Com, “a brave noble character in an epic poem admired for great achievement or affected by grand events.” (www.Dictionary .com) These heroes have been created through poems and stories, in order for man to understand the separation between himself and the spiritual presence in his life. Every society/culture since the creation of man has created this type of hero to embody the values and mores of that time period.
In Homer's lyrical verses and in his use of detail, diction, and imagery, he paints his own portrait of a classic hero through the brave deeds as well as the human flaws of Hector and Achilles that eventually lead to the downfall of proud and powerful Hector. The first characteristic that is assigned to a classic hero by Homer is the fact that they are strong and brave, and may even have god-like qualities. To emphasize this, Homer deliberately and repeatedly adds adjectives that praise the two heroes before their names almost every time he refers to them. While Achilles is usually depicted as swift and godlike, Homer portrays Hector as bright, dazzling and dignified. Homer uses phrases like, "...noble bright-helmeted Hector..."(398;Book 22), "...man-killing Hector..." (149;Book 6), and "Resplendent Hector..."(146;Book 6) to describe the Trojan soldier, while he praises Hector's Greek opponent with such expressions as "Achilles, peer of the plume-waving war god..."(145;Book 22) and "...Achilles, swift of foot..."(182;Book 1).
Analyse the heroes depicted in the Illiad and how they reflect the role of legend and mythology in Bronze Age society. The heroes of the Trojan War have long been the ideals of ancient Greek mythology and legend, and are also physical representations of qualities valued by Bronze Age Greek society. The epic tradition of poetry and song has enabled many historians to study the Illiad as a source of both historical and cultural information. Achilles, Hector and Odysseus are all immortalised as figures of bravery and excellence in warfare, all endeavouring to achieve the concepts of kleos (‘glory’) and time (‘honour’). The fundamental desire for reputation and social validation of the heroes of the Illiad suggests a great significance placed on cult worship and everlasting fame.
The third poem is ‘The Soldier’; Brooke uses the message of England being the soldiers’ mother and the personification of England itself to raise pride and morality for the young men signing up for the army. Tone’s such as pride, enthusiasm and passion makes the poem convey an idealised view of war. It makes the readers want to be part of the war and fight for their ‘mother’ England. In ‘Peace’, Brooke uses language to give the impression of an
Daily heroic acts deserve praise, however true heroic traits develop from personality and identity. Determination, bravery and drive are standards of a hero and withstand societal changes from Hercules up until Iron Man II came out in theaters. Exemplifying heroic efforts of the 20th century, Martin Luther King Jr. made a name for himself and provided a better future for black Americans. Many years ago, Beowulf served same purpose for the Anglo Saxon people by creating a legacy based on his many achievements. Both heroes, though differing in time period, display similar qualities in helping humanity, having a genuine reasoning for their efforts, and using their strengths to overcome others.
These classical mythologies are a rich source of inspiration for both author and audience, as each allusion contains its own historical background that helps build up the structure of the story. Therefore, the mythological references provide a more comprehensive depiction for the entire storyline and more importantly, for King Henry’s status as a successful king. The first mythological reference is first illustrated in the prologue, which it helps set out a general tone for the storyline and foreshadow the focus on the events. The Chorus, who functions as a narrator in the play, made an epic invocation by stating, “Muse of fire” (1.Prologue.1) in the prologue. He appeals urgently to his audiences to use their imagination to establish the best story possible despite the visual limitations of the stage.
The poem is also written in a rather rigid iambic pentameter. The Volunteer is typical to that of Rupert Brooke’s poems for example The Soldier is also a patriotic poem; it describes that of an idealistic England which the men of our country should preserve by fighting in the war, this is shown in the chosen language such as “English heaven” “Peace” and “gentleness”. And death is described as the ultimate sacrifice and joy for your country just like in The Volunteer. The Soldier also has the simple message of sacrifice and patriotism for example England and Englishmen is mentioned six times throughout the poem which continually reinforces this message by using repetition. The fact that the poem is written in a sonnet form also reinforces the message of patriotism because a sonnet represents a love poem and The Soldier is about a love of your country again like The Volunteer.
When I hear the word hero, I think of someone who is idealized for their courage and bravery, having outstanding achievements, and having noble qualities. Policemen and firefighters are heroes to me. Heroes can come in all different shapes and sizes and that’s important for some people to understand, just because they aren’t super tall and lusty doesn’t mean that they can’t be a hero. In the earliest English epic poem, “Beowulf”, the hero is Beowulf. As a hero, the Anglo-Saxons made Beowulf have certain hero characteristics.
The idea of peoples attitudes towards war as being either positive or negative, as presented through these written texts, are timeless and continue to be relevant to society today. In his Poem The Soldier, Rupert Brooke communicates the idea that war is positive. The artists’ intention is to persuade the reader to support the war effort. His poem illustrates war as noble, patriotic and chivalric. Rupert Brooke does this by using language to glorify war.