King Arthur Essay

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Abigail Jenkins
Baringer
H.British Lit
2-28-2008

King Arthur Essay

Heroes are usually the major part of a legend. Heroes exemplify the qualities that the people of their time period admire most in a person. Beowulf was considered to be a hero in the Anglo- Saxon era. King Arthur was considered a hero in the medieval era. From one era to the other, the concept of what a hero is has changed.

During Beowulf’s time, he fought monsters and mythical creatures, like dragons. Beowulf was extremely strong with almost immortal abilities. “In this far-off home Beowulf, Higlac’s follower and the strongest of the Geats—greater and stronger than anyone in this world †” He could do things that most humans couldn’t do. He was very brave and was not in fear of death. Besides his strong qualities, Beowulf would help whoever needed him even though he had no position of authority or obligation to help.

King Arthur what was also a hero, but his time period had a different definition of a hero was. King Arthur was a leader of a specific group of loyal subjects, and had an obligation to his people. “’Alas,’ said the King, ‘this is to me a full heavy sight to see this noble duke so die for my sake, for he would have helped me that had more need of help than I’”. Unlike Beowulf, King Arthur had no immortal abilities. He was still human and could be wounded, but he had a brave heart that he used to protect his people. He fought a real enemy in war, not mythical creatures. His people were loyal to him for all that he did for them.

Throughout time the definition of hero has changed, but they are always the people who the public of that time see as an exemplary person. Beowulf was immortal unlike King Arthur, showing at least one change in the aspects of a hero. The Anglo-Saxon and Medieval time periods were very different in writing their legends. Both Beowulf and King Arthur are good examples of heroes who are nothing alike, but who are still heroic to the people...
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