Grendel’s Mother and Beowulf
Hero assignment What is a hero? Throughout the ages the concept of a hero changes and transforms into what a person people typically find heroic. The hero figure changes over time. One would imagine a hero to be a strong, intelligent and charismatic character, typically a knight or prince riding on a gleaming white stallion to save a maiden or city from a dangerous threat.
There is a quote by a man of the name of Felix Adler “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world ,who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by” Felix believed that heroes set blazing torches of hope through men. Heroes of been there for humanity throughout the ages and are never forgotten. Heroes are men who are able to take a risk and succeed. The epitome of hero for me is someone who fulfills his or her task faithfully and with dignity. A hero is willing to overcome any challenge or obstacle with his head firmly planted on his shoulder.
He puts himself whole heartedly into the task and doesn’t give up or back down, he puts his shoulders back and head up and goes into the challenge without looking back. A hero is also someone who acts with grace under pressure. With all the time in the world, anyone could perform the hero’s task; but the hero is able to perform well under the most difficult circumstances and handle it with ease. Heroes always help society and individuals to change and are a role model in society. Over all heroes have some characteristics in common that influence society and individuals.
They live in the heart and mind of people because of their extraordinary principles such as bravery, loyalty and strength. Now days we have fictional characters which we call superheroes. We have Superman, Batman, Spiderman and many others. What do all of these heroes have in common? The will to help others, make hard sacrifices and do what’s right. Epic heroes possess many traits that other people lack. Among these are physical strength, bravery, and wisdom. These attributes aid the heroes with their journeys throughout the unknown.
Beowulf exemplifies each of these traits somewhere is the story. They aid him in his battles with monsters and allow him to be a leader to his people. These traits cause Beowulf to stand out among his peers and make him loved and awed by the reader. Beowulf is definitely a perfect example of an great hero. Beowulf’s physical strength is revealed to the reader through his amazing feats and his unbelievable battles with mystical creatures. In the book we are shown that Beowulf was the strongest man in the world. Which shows heroes must be strong and brave to defeat their enemies.
After Beowulf arrives in Denmark he quickly travels to Herot to prepare for his battle with Grendel. In the book it states that Grendel was instantly grabbed by Beowulf upon trying to kill him. This action no man had been able to accomplish before Beowulf’s arrival. Beowulf’s strength is also shown in his battle with Grendel’s mother. We see that Beowulf was able to toss the Grendel’s mother to the ground. This only reemphasizes Beowulf’s great physical strength. Finally, Beowulf’s strength is shown in his battle with the dragon.
Beowulf’s battle with the dragon is when he is an old man. The fact that Beowulf is still able to defeat the dragon even when he is aged shows that heroes are heroes no matter what their age is. The second characteristic that Beowulf embodies is bravery. In the beginning of the story it is made obvious to the reader that Beowulf has led a glorious youth. He performed feats that no other man would ever dream to try. During the battle with Grendel on lines, Beowulf lies patiently on the floor and waits for Grendel to seize him.
He also chooses not to use weapons to fight the monster. When pursuing Grendel’s mother, Beowulf jumps into the lake without a second thought. As he sinks to the bottom the thoughts crossing his mind are of the battle to come and the glory he will gain. During the battle with the dragon Beowulf continues to fight even though everyone abandons him in fear. A hero is brave through and through without showing weakness or fear. Another thing that sets Beowulf apart from the others is his wisdom.
From the beginning Beowulf is portrayed as the leader and the strategist of the Geats. During his battle with Grendel, Beowulf displays incredible fighting techniques and combat strategy. By pretending to be asleep, Beowulf surprises Grendel and gains the upper hand in the fight. When Beowulf is dragged into the Grendel’s mother lair he quickly realizes that his weapons have no effect. Beowulf sees the giant’s sword hanging on the wall and draws it. He uses the sword and with a mighty swing cuts off the head of Grendel’s mother and wins the battle.
When Beowulf was faced with a tough and dangerous condition, he uses his wisdom and skill to help him through the battle. Eventually Beowulf became the ruler of the Geats. His years of being a hero and doing great things gave him the wisdom and determination to lead his people. Beowulf is the epitome of what a great hero should strive to be. His physical strength, bravery, and wisdom set him apart from all other men. Beowulf was able to defeat enemies that no other man would challenge. Even though Beowulf was eventually killed in battle, he died never failing in anything he did.
Beowulf is one of the most noblest and courageous men throughout history. The concept of a hero goes back to old English times. In the text Beowulf we begin the story with a town in desperate need of saving. There is a demon called Grendel “Suddenly then the God-cursed brute was creating havoc: greedy and grim, he grabbed thirty men from their resting places and rushed to his lair, flushed up and inflamed from the raid, blundering back with the butchered corpses” The town was in need of a hero, the King Hrthogar issued an reward to the man who kills the dreaded demon.
Conveniently Beowulf hears of the chaotic creature and with his men they ride on their ship through a storm (showing how fearless they are) and arrive in Denmark when asked of his name he replies “I am Beowulf” This notion of the grand “I am” is seen throughout history such as in Le Morte D’Athur “ I am Arthur Pendragon” or in modern times “ I am Superman”. This phrase symbolizes how heroes are known and are great. Beowulf is welcomed into the kingdom after the king learns of who his father is ( a great warrior). They gather in the mead hall which represents a eeting place and when the time comes saves the town from Grendel, and Grendel’s mother. Beowulf leaves with honor and becomes king of the Geats, the notion of heroes being of royal descent or becoming royalty. He then embarks on another quest with a dragon were he tragically dies a heroic death. Beowulf is a symbol throughout the ages of what a true hero is. A true hero is one who will save others while putting his own life at risk. Beowulf died while saving others, this is an honorable heroic death that marks you down in the history of all ages.
The hero touches mankind and becomes an inspiration and a figure of hope to us all. This reflects back to the phrase “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world ,who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by”. Beowulf was a savior to a town and a light in history to show us and teach us that we should try to do our part to save our world. The same idea is seen the text Le Morte D’ Arthur written by Sir Thomas Malory. The hero aspect changes into a code of chivalry.
Arthur’s father is a king yet he is sent to live with a simple man by the king’s adviser Merlin. The notion of a hero being of royalty is seen here. The king dies and Merlin sets a challenge, any many that pulls the sword out of the stone is the rightful king to the city. Many try yet fail. Arthur is sent to get a sword for his ‘brother’ and pulls the sword out of the stone. This shows that the hero is chosen and destined for greatness. There is a prophecy, a great prophecy that says one day a courageous young man will get the crown and save his people. Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England”. This notion shows that a hero is chosen and is destined for greatness. Arthur had no idea that the stone he pulled out of the stone to give to his step brother Kay will open a door to his fate. The concept of a hero is that he is of royal decent and Arthur unknowingly is the son of the king and the heir to the throne. The knights of Arthur have a code. A code of what they call chivalry. They have many rules of which they live their life by.
The knights are chosen and swear by the round table that they will oblige and fulfill the rules of chivalry. The idea of the round table signifies a bond for all the knights. The laws of chivalry contain having mercy on the ones that have done a wrongdoing, not striking a woman, not to quarrel unjustly, not to be cruel and malicious, never acts outrageously, never does treason nor murder among other things. Arthur goes on a journey or a quest; he goes to seek adventure, to be noble and to be great.
The book tells us of great quests he and his knights go on to save towns and damsels. Arthur is an evolution of Beowulf. Both are strong, just men determined to become great and work towards it. Both are of royalty and work by a code to fight off the evil. When one of Arthurs knights accidently kills a woman Arthur immediately punishes him for breaking one of the rules of chivalry. This shows us, the audience how important the codes that heroes live by are and should never be broke.
Heroes still exist now days but not they are not the same as typical heroes, the ones put down in history or fictional characters. There are no heroes like Superman or Batman there are no heroes like Beowulf or Arthur but there are heroes. They are not cliche heroes but they are saving people. Normal everyday people do their bit to help save humanity. Stories like Beowulf and Arthur set examples to normal every day men. They are inspirations among thousands of other heroes in history that are known or not known.
The phrase by Felix Adler “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world ,who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by” sums up the essence of what a hero is. A hero is one who helps save the world, who lights up the darkness and rescues those in need. They set a torch throughout history to show simple humans as ourselves that you don’t need a power to do something great. To go out of your comfort zone and do something heroic no matter how big or small is great. Beowulf and Le Morte D’Arthur are small books that make massive impacts in our history.
Even though these heroes are completely different, from a different time and defeat different foes they have a few attributes in common; dedication, commitment, courage, strength and the will to do what is right. They went out and did what was thought to be impossible and they did it. So the phrase by Felix Adler “The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by” is the epitome of what a hero should strive for and what he will be if he succeeds.