Beowulf Literary Analysis

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“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example” (Benjamin Disraeli). In this quote Mr. Disraeli is saying a hero is anyone who will be remembered for the dignified examples they set for others. The epic poem of Beowulf, rewritten in English by Seamus Heaney, is a grade-A caliber source of how people viewed a “hero’ back in Anglo-Saxon times. The Geat hero, Beowulf, leads his people through his examples of fearlessness and pure strength. These are some of the qualities they believe makes a true hero. Today, for the most part, we view are heroes in a somewhat different light. In both modern times and Anglo-Saxon times society has places significant stress on the one unifying truth that forms a hero, their heroic deeds. However, we seem to disagree on the other factors of being a hero including humility and the physical aspect of being a hero.

Probably the focal point of all heroes it their great deeds. Beowulf demonstrates to all his great deeds for which he is known. He is always looking for a challenge to test his heroic abilities. When Unferth speaks exclusively of the fails in Beowulf’s great race with Breca Beowulf rebukes him by saying, “However it occurred, my sword had killed nine sea-monsters” (Beowulf 574-575, pg 39). This fearless quote by Beowulf not only shows his confidence in himself, but clearly exemplifies one of his many great accomplishments. However, throughout the story it seems as if Beowulf is never entirely satisfied with himself. He spends his whole life battling gruesome monsters for the safety and security of the people. Today, heroes may not stand out as much as they seemed to back then, but they do share in accomplishing noteworthy tasks. Chesley Sullenberger, an American airlines pilot became a nation wide hero on January 15, 2009. That day his plane, US Airways Flight 1549, flew into a large flock of birds that blew up the plane’s engine. With quick thinking Chesley crash landed the plane...
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