What Is Bravery?

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Joey Young
Dr. Wheeler
Writing and Literature Studies


What is bravery? Bravery is having or displaying a sense of courage as well as being a daring individual. It is also a person who lacks the qualities of being cowardly or timid. Throughout history most great leaders showed that they were very brave individuals through their actions and as well as the way they carried themselves. They didn't allow what other people or forces said dictate their actions. Leaders that show high levels of this characteristic fight for what they believe in, even if it results in their own death. A story and character that demonstrates these characteristics pretty well is Beowulf. Beowulf was an altruistic individual who ended up giving up his life in order to saver other people's lives. Beowulf also showed zero fear when dealing with the different circumstances he was forced into as well as the situations he put himself into. Another story that shows examples of an individual being brave is the poem Battle of Maldon. This poem was based on real events that took place in England somewhere around 900AD. The story is about a battle between a group of Vikings and a group of men defending England. This poem shows multiple examples of bravery, but does this story show the same consistency as Beowulf? There are some similarities between the two stories but do their examples of bravery add up between each other to be considered consistent. I personally believe that theme of bravery is ultimately the same between the two poets. Both stories give a great representation of bravery throughout their stories. The first example that shows similarity between the two stories is the leader as well as the main character in the story is an altruistic individual. Beowulf, the leader and main character in the Beowulf, and Byrhtnoth, the leader and main character in the Battle of Maldon, both ended up dying in battle for what they believed in and they both went own fighting. Beowulf shows this this type of bravery when he goes and fights the dragon that has been terrorizing his town close to the end of the story. Even though he knows the dragon is probably going to kill him before he starts to battle it, he is willing to give his life in order to keep his people safe. This also represents a warriors most honorable death. Byrhtnoth shows the same altruistic behavior by not retreating when the Vikings try to overtake them. Byrhnoth ends up getting stabbed a couple of times but he continues to fight for his people. As the last blow strikes his body he knows he is dying with honor and bravery. Both of these examples show a high characteristic in bravery and both show equal amounts of consistency in the bravery department up to this point. The second example that involves bravery that I chose has to deal with the people that were willing to follow their leaders into battle. It takes a brave individual to go into battle knowing that their either out numbered or that they are completely outmatched. In Beowulf their was a group of warriors from Geatland that followed Beowulf on his adventures and helped him get out of different situations . One of the notable situations i recall is when Beowulf and his men are in Heorot Hall and Grendel shows up to kill. The men are scared and some start to get killed but they show bravery by standing by Beowulf's side whenever he tries and attacks and eventually takes down Grendel. In the Battle of Maldon a similar situation occurs when the Vikings start to come on shore. Byrhtnoth ordered his men to line up at the shore line in order to hinder the Vikings from coming on shore. This is a brave and risky task because the Vikings are using spears and arrows so they won't have to get very close to hurt them. The fact that the men took those orders without hesitation shows that have a high quality trait in bravery, and they trust their leader in this tough situation. The third example that I...
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