Last Research Paper!! - A manda Buzzeo and L indsay...

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Amanda Buzzeo and Lindsay Ratcliffe Close 5 Research Paper April 21, 2010 Heroes Throughout the Ages Throughout the ages, there have been people who stand above the rest. They maybe a role model, performed a gallant act, or have exceptional powers. Regardless all heroes are shaped by their society. Thus the heroes change with their society along with the heroes’ qualities. Although the heroes change, their legends and stories live on forever. The works Beowulf , Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , and A Prayer for Owen Meany are all great examples of heroes with very diverse qualities originating from their unique societies. In the Anglo-Saxon literary period, a prime characteristic of a hero is egotism and boastfulness about prior accomplishments. These heroes are known as epic heroes. An excellent hero who portrays this quality is Beowulf. Beowulf’s boasting has no end. He starts to show his bragging qualities as soon as he walks into a room. The first time the reader hears Beowulf’s
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name is when he grandiosely announces himself. As Beowulf enters Hrothgar’s mead hall, the poem states that, “The man whose name was known for courage, the Geat leader, resolute in his helmet, answered in return: ‘We are retainers from Hygelac's band. Beowulf is my name’”(Beowulf 340-343). By Beowulf’s boasting he shows his strength, power, and bravery. The prideful actions of a leader can intimidate other men, which in turn make the leader stronger. Beowulf is compelled to show his greatness and sings his own praises to Unferth. Beowulf says, “Ah, Unferth, my friend, your face, Is hot with ale, and your tongue has tried To tell us of Brecca’s doings. But the truth Is simple: no man swims in the sea As I can, no strength is a match for mine. As boys Brecca and I had boasted…” (Beowulf 530-540). Even though Beowulf pronounces his self-acclamation, “there is no movement by either of the two warriors toward further physical aggression” (Miller 234). Miller explains that in Anglo Saxon culture, conceited comments to fellow members of society did not lead to fighting if they were in the same clan. This characteristic is exemplified in the scene containing Unferth’s and Beowulf’s verbal confrontation over their successes. Although Beowulf’s comments may seem harsh, it was all brought on by “Unferth’s belittling insults in
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Hrothgar’s hall and the hero retaliates with gilp or brag demonstrating his own prowess” (Miller 234). Unferth starts the quarrel with Beowulf by saying, “‘You’re Beowulf…the same boastful fool’” (Beowulf 506-507). This comment from Unferth sparks Beowulf’s anger. As an Anglo Saxon hero, Beowulf must retaliate when challenged, even though that may not mean a physical battle. This type of conflict is described by Miller as “the classic confrontation”
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This note was uploaded on 03/23/2011 for the course ENGLISH 1101 taught by Professor Hawk during the Fall '08 term at Georgia State University, Atlanta.

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Last Research Paper!! - A manda Buzzeo and L indsay...

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