Beowulf Heroism Essay

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 314
  • Published : April 21, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
The Mercurial Definition of Heroism
Throughout history, heroes have been defined as individuals who have sacrificed themselves for the betterment of others. However, every culture always has had its own definition of heroism that separated one great hero from another. During the Anglo Saxon period, people admired Beowulf for his invulnerability, self-confidence, and god-like strength. On the other hand, people in the current era praised Tae Su Go and Martin Luther King, Jr, for their humility and achievements as pacifists. These heroes reflect principles and standards that people held and show that definition of heroism is highly elastic in different ages.

In the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, the main character Beowulf demonstrates the morals and values of the Anglo Saxon times by unleashing his mighty strength. In current perspective, Beowulf may just seem as a cruel murderer because he completely destroys Grendel by using his bare hands. For example, Beowulf only allowed Grendel to escape when the monster “twisted in pain” and his “muscle and bone split.” However, Anglo Saxon literature states such an atrocious act of brutality as a “new glory” that Beowulf had granted. Readers could speculate from the clash between Beowulf and Grendel that the Anglo Saxons admired Beowulf’s merciless destruction of his enemies. The Anglo Saxons’ notion of heroism clearly deviates from the current heroic ethics because current heroes like Tae Su Go and Martin Luther King Jr. never used physical strength to stand against their enemies.

During the late nineteenth century, Korean farmers grew discontent toward Japan’s economic oppression that set the price floor for daily products such as potatoes, rice, and lettuce. Japanese government benefited from this oppression because they were able to purchase cheap surplus goods that less affluent citizens were not able to consume due to the high cost set by the price floor. As a result, the Korean farmer alliance named Chamwha...
tracking img