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Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf as a Hero

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Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf as a Hero

Spiderman, Superman, and the Hulk. What do these names bring to mind? They are all childhood heroes, at which one point of time most children admired. Heroes are introduced to people early on in life usually as fictional characters, but as children grow older their own perceptions of heroes alter. The characteristics of a hero are usually based around the ideas of a society or culture. In the epic Beowulf, the main character is thought of as a hero. Beowulf, a pagan warrior and the main character of the epic, shows certain characteristics such as bravery, loyalty, and generosity, which portray him as a hero. It is interesting how modern day heroes show the much of the same qualities as Beowulf.

Bravery is a trait that every young boy wishes to have. It is a desire that is embedded into each human being. It is only whether or not he or she acts on this desire to be brave that matter s. Aristotle writes, "{Bravery} courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others." When Beowulf heard of the atrocities that Grendle was committing to the people of Herot, it was bravery that brought him there as their savor, and without fear he would

...deny myself the use of a sword and a broad yellow shield

in battle; but I shall grapple with this fiend

hand to hand; we shall fight for our lives,

foe against foe; and he whom death takes off

must resign himself to the judgment of God.

This act of bravery is analogous to the brave souls who left their homes, just as Beowulf did, during the tragedy of September eleventh. These people volunteered their efforts regardless of the fact that they might not return home, that they may be the one whom death takes off.

Loyalty is defined in Merriam Webster dictionary as "faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government". Also known as comitatus, Beowulf declares

But if battle should claim me, send this most excellent

coat of mail to Hygelac, this best of corslets

that protects my breast; it once belonged to Hrethal.

the work of Weland. Fate goes ever as it


In this passage Beowulf is saying that what ever may happen to his body, send his coat of mail to his leader, for that is where his loyalty belongs. United States soldiers are often thought of as heroes, and travel to parts of the world where they might face death, and instead of burying their body in



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