Beowulf Essay Research Paper HeroesWhat is a

Beowulf Essay, Research Paper


What is a hero? Webster?s Dictionary defines a hero as someone who is

admired for his achievements and qualities. The question is, does this definition

apply to an Anglo-Saxon hero as well as a modern day hero? Heroes in modern

times are found all over the world in all different social classes, races, age groups,

and religions. Heroes today come in all different shapes and sizes and have a

variety of different qualities which characterized them as heroes. Heroes in

Beowulf?s time, however, were a specific type of person. Typically a hero was a

young, strong, white male who had to have specific qualities to be considered a

hero. Heroes in Anglo-Saxon times and heroes in modern times are characterized

very differently, but also share a few common traits which qualify them as heroes.

The hero of Anglo-Saxon times was a very specific type of person. A prime

example of a hero in the Anglo-Saxon times is Beowulf. Beowulf is a strong,

white male who encompasses all of the characteristics that make someone a hero.

There are three qualities necessary to be considered a true hero: loyalty, bravery,

and strength. Anglo-Saxon society put a great amount of importance on loyalty. A

hero was always supposed to be loyal to his king and his kinship. A hero had to

stand by his knights and hold his blood ties true above all else. Bravery in battle

was extremely important. A hero had to fight for his king, and to protect his people

from harm. He could not fear anything and he risked his life for his country.

Lastly, an Anglo-Saxon hero had to have strength above all others. He had to have

the strength and ability to fight evil and come out strong. Heroes had superhuman

strength of some nature. In Anglo-Saxon society, being a hero also meant fame.

Usually there was a long line of heroes all in the same family, and they were

famous for their family name. Heroes had to be cunning, able, and have good

judgment in trying situations. For a person to be a hero in Anglo-Saxon times, they

had to encompass all of these characteristics, and be a positive role model for all

heroes to come.

The heroes of modern times have a very varied set of qualities which

characterize them as heroes. Unlike Anglo-Saxon times, the heroes of modern

times don?t fit into a cut mold. They don?t have specific qualities they must have

or any requirements they must meet to be a verifiable hero. In modern times, in

contrast to the Anglo-Saxon times, the society is much more individualistic.

Everyone has their own opinion of what a hero is depending on personal

experience. Modern day heroes may be anyone from famous athletes, movie stars,

or pop music icons to a woman, a disabled person, or even a child. There is no

limit on what a hero is, but there are a few characteristics that are commonly

shared among heroes of modern times. A hero must be kind-hearted, inspiring, and

have a special personality. Everyone who is a hero is a hero in their own way.

Whether they fought a war, taught a child to read, or inspired someone to simply

be a better person. In modern times, there are no guidelines, or rules for being a

hero; all you have to do is be yourself and inspire or make a difference in one

person?s life.

Although there are many differences between the Anglo-Saxon hero and the

hero of modern times, there are some basic characteristic traits they share. Having

the general status of being a good person is the basis of being a hero. Heroes in

both time periods have to have a kind heart. They have to be selfless enough to do

an act of kindness for another human being. They sacrifice at least a little bit of

themselves for someone else?s happiness or well being. Whether they realize it or

not, they touched someone enough to be considered a hero and to be remembered

as a positive role model.

In conclusion, there is no one definition for a hero. The word hero means

and stands for different things to different people. The meaning and characteristics

of a hero changes from generation to generation. It developed into a much broader

definition from Anglo-Saxon times to modern times, and who knows how it will

evolve in the future. Regardless of who, where, or when, a hero is someone who is

looked up to, respected, and someone that will always be remembered for their

selfless acts of kindness.


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