Heroic Code In Beowulf

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The Hero’s Complex Strength and honor. Pride and reputation. Loyalty. Warriors in medieval times dedicated their lives to upholding a heroic code. The nature of this heroic code was portrayed through the act of giving gifts to symbolize personal relationships and worth, avenging loved ones instead of grieving over them, and showing generosity to demonstrate appreciation (Shuger, Lecture). The text also illustrates this ideal of dying young and gloriously rather than wasting away due to old age. The mission of a hero during this day and age was quite simple. Defend the kingdom by any means necessary, stay loyal to one’s kinsmen, and protect one’s individual reputation by being a brave warrior no matter what that entails. Cowardice was unacceptable.…show more content…
Beowulf is a warrior, but at the same time, he is a Christian. His entire belief system as a warrior completely contradicts his Christian values. For example, the Bible instructs people to love thy neighbor and forgive those who transgress against us, but the heroic code endorses revenge and retaliation. This ongoing conflict between doing the right thing as a warrior and doing the right thing as a Christian is present throughout the text. In the epic, the speaker tells Beowulf to choose “The better part, eternal rewards” (lines 1759-1760). Eternal rewards are specifically labeled as “better” than the results of another battle, which shows a preference to the poet’s take on achievement through personal salvation versus achievement through the heroic code. There are more important things in life than slaying monsters. As a result, the speaker attempts to convince Beowulf to strive for more substantial goals. Fame and glory are enjoyed momentarily, but eternal rewards are only available after death. Choosing an eternity of salvation is better than the glory of battle because after death, one cannot benefit from a life of infamy like one can from spiritual

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