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Comparison of Modern Day Heroes and Beowulf as a Hero

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 and 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 must!

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 foreign lands they choose to be brought back to their homeland to be buried, showing their loyalty to their country. Generosity another trait of a hero is depicted by Beowulf on many occasions in the epic.

When hearing of Grendel terrorizing Herot, Beowulf ventures off to see if his assistance was needed. He does this out of generosity, and when much treasure was rewarded, he gave it to his kingdom rather then keeping it for personal profit. After the September 11th tragedy occurred people came form far and wide to help out or donate money. Generosity is also displayed every year at Christmas when people go out of their way to help needy families or to feed the hungry.

In the words of Will Rogers People are marvelous in their generosity, if they just know the cause is there. Although, modern day heroes and Beowulf share the same qualities their goals and reasons why they are heroes differ. Beowulf as a pagan did not believe in an afterlife. Instead he believed that a person becomes immoral and never forgotten through fame. When Beowulf was accomplishing his quest he always had the thought of fame on his mind. After accomplishing his quest, word of mouth would tell Beowulfs tales and as people would learn of Beowulf his fame would grow.

The words of Carol Pearson best describe Beowulf as a hero Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves. Most modern day heroes act on a sense of duty. Since they were young they have been told to be brave, loyal, and generous. Just as their forefathers and the fictional characters they grew up watching were. Florence Nightingale truly explains what a modern day hero is in hers words I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.

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