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Beowulf: Heroism

Uploaded by lord_samuel on Oct 19, 2000

Beowulf’s author is unknown, as are his motives and inspiration for the creation of the poem. Written some four hundred years before the Norman conquests, it is comprised of three thousand, one hundred and eighty-two lines, dramatically reproducing the timeless struggle between good and evil, along with all the variations that accompany such a story. By far one of the most admirable qualities presented to the reader is the notion of heroism, and the importance of honor. The quality of character was a major element of the heroic man in the world of which the story is set.

In relation the personality, James V. McConnell wrote; “Let us define personality as the way in which a person thinks, behaves and adjusts to his or her environment. Such a definition would include the persons traits, values, motives, attitudes, emotional reactions, abilities, self-image and intelligence as well as the persons overt behavior patterns.” (McConnell, page 610). He then went on further to say, “A complete theory of personality would not only describe the individual’s present style of adjustment but give some notion of how the person got that way and where he or she was going.”

Throughout the poem, the author allows the reader to see, in action, the true workings of heroes. Men and women who cast aside their own personal needs and desires for the better of others. During this time society sustained a strong honor code. The actions that an individual amassed over their lifetime was the title by which they were known to the rest of the land, both good and bad. A lot was asked of rulers concerning the protection and expansion of the empire, Kings and Queens were known by their conquests and control of the subjects around them. In the prologue we are introduced to a loved and heroic King by the name of Shild. “ How Shild made slaves of soldiers from every land, crowds of captives he’d beaten into terror…lived to be rich and much honored. He ruled lands on all sides: wherever the sea would take them his soldiers sailed, returned with tribute and obedience.” (Raffel, line 4). This section of the prologue clearly defines the times, in that it immediately sets up the reader for the level of nobility in the tone of the author, in the expression of dignity that accompanies King Shild’s conquests. His life was associated with greatness and...

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Uploaded by:   lord_samuel

Date:   10/19/2000

Category:   Beowulf

Length:   5 pages (1,021 words)

Views:   2545

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