Beowulf was strong, intelligent, humble, and kind and in the eyes of society this was their view of being good. He showed compassion and he was very understanding which is the characteristics of someone that is good. These are the values that Beowulf portrayed throughout this story. Beowulf understood his place in the world as he was dedicated to illustrating his heroic strength and loyalty to all people. He was considered a “larger than life” hero and the writer of the story did a great job portraying the good characteristics of Beowulf and how he was able to conquer all.
A hero in an epic poem is typically an important figure in a legend or history that holds some type of royalty and embarks on a cyclical adventure or quest. On this adventure the hero faces many adversities and obstacles but eventually returns home significantly changed from the journey. These heroes embody bravery, intelligence and loyalty as well as fear that they must overcome in order to protect their family, friends and countries. Two of the most famous epic heroes are Gilgamesh and Odysseus who both have to overcome great difficulty in order to protect their people of their countries as well as their family and friends. Gilgamesh was a famous epic hero for various different reasons.
These men, embark on an epic journey that prove them worthy of the title hero. When someone completes an epic journey and is seen as a hero for his or her actions then they are known as an epic hero. This is very true is our lives today, even though people do not view the world the same way as Homer and Virgil did, but the sense of excitement for an epic journey is still there. I wrote about these two men to explain how they may be different people, from different teams in the Trojan War, but have similar attributes and the same adventure that we all wish to have in our lifetimes. I have a hard time to keep word counts to a minimum for the fear of not making my point valid enough in my papers, but if there is anything that the professor can teach me on this matter, I’d be happy to learn.
The Germanic Heroic Code is seen throughout the literature of the Middle Ages. The code celebrated a good reputation in all people. Readers would be expected to follow by the example of characters who lived a life worthy of the code. The code values strength, courage, and loyalty in warriors; and these in addition to hospitality and generosity in leaders. In The Dream of the Rood, both Christ and the tree are seen as brave warriors who confront and defeat his opponent, and someone who embodies honor, courage, and the traits of the Germanic Heroic Code that were so highly valued in medieval culture.
Arthur continues to speak about how he will come to rule again. “I perish by this people which I made through Merlin sware that I should come again to rule once more-but let what will be” (896) This quote expresses bravery because Arthur is on his death bed and he is thinking about how he is going to come back and rule rather than wallowing about the fact that he is going pass away soon. Another example of bravery in the selection is when Arthur decides to trust Sir Benivere with the task of giving Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake. The act of being faithful to a private person, to whom fidelity is due, is the definition of loyalty. Loyalty was portrayed by Sir Benivere in the story when he is asked to throw Excalibur into the lake “Yet I thy hest will all perform at full, watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word” pg.
Homer’s exploration of Achilles’ struggle for eternal glory establishes the main element of the Hero in ancient Greek culture as the immortalisation of his life in song or epic poetry. Kleos, meaning ‘glory, fame, that which is heard’ refers to both the medium and the message, and is one of the driving forces for many of the warriors in the Illiad. For the heroes, and indeed Achilles, they fight not for their Kings or countries, but for the concept of kleos. In order to achieve this, they have to suffer through an ordeal, accomplish great deeds, show excellence in fighting, and ultimately, die in battle. According to Goldhill, “Poetry confers
Stegner states, “I want to speak for the wilderness idea as something that has helped form our character and that has certainly shaped our history as a people. (515)” History is a part of our lives, if we wipe it all away, what can we teach our future. “Without any remaining wilderness we are committed wholly without chance for even momentary reflection and rest, to a headlong drive into our technological termite-life, the Brace New World
In the two epics I am familiar with (Beowulf and Odysseus), both “heroes” were originally driven by their own hubris, ego, and self-admiration. Yet, as they progressed throughout the story, they found that they are no longer propelled by themselves and their ideals, rather, the values of the civilization or purer intentions all-together. The interesting thing about epics is the incorporation of the struggle between man and god. In Greek epics, some gods help the hero on his quest, for example, Athena aiding Odysseus on his journey home. Nevertheless, there always stands that one deity who someone just had to piss off.
By endeavoring to achieve this greatness through grand words and deeds one could also attain Kleos, or glory, something the ancient Greeks valued highly. If Arete and Kleos were what was being sought, it was done so by the acquisition and use of Phronesis and Kratos and through the practice and expression of Oikos and Xenia. Practical intelligence and wit were highly valued by the Greeks and many examples of this can be found
As a hero, the Anglo-Saxons made Beowulf have certain hero characteristics. Today we still have heroes that have the same characteristics because authors took the image of Beowulf and created other super-natural heroes. Beowulf was a warrior and a king that showed great courage and he was admired by his own people and King Hrothgar. Epic heroes are social icons and they are imposing in stature, physically and socially. Their style is grand, yet simple, and they have super-human strength and they also face super-natural forces.