Beowulf: The Native English Hero

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A true hero does not fear death but instead risks all that he is for what he believes to be right, moral, and just. In England’s national folk epic Beowulf, Beowulf is the epitome of the native English hero. He possesses unconditional loyalty, great bravery, and a strong desire for fame.

Comitatus, very important in Beowulf’s time, is the bond between the warrior and his lord. Beowulf demonstrates this by how loyal he is to his leader. He is not only loyal to his leader; he is loyal to his kin and his companions as well. He also shows this when he helps the kingdom his father served. Furthermore, Beowulf’s defeat over Grendel and Grendel’s mother validates his bravery. Initially, Beowulf lives his life with a sole desire for his name to live on after death. His strong ambition for fame influences his heroic actions.

In conclusion, themes can be defined as the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. As Beowulf is essentially a record of heroic deeds, the concept of identity is clearly central to the poem. The opening passages introduce the reader to a world where every male figure is known as his father’s son. This concern with family history is so prominent because of the poem’s emphasis on kinship bonds. Characters take pride in ancestors who have acted valiantly; therefore, they attempt to live up to the same standards. While Beowulf’s pagan warrior culture seems not to have a concept of the afterlife, it sees fame as a way of ensuring that an individual’s memory will continue on after death: an understandable preoccupation in a world where death seems to always be knocking at the door.
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