Exemplar of a Hero
Professor Ed Frame
29 July 2015
The tale of the legendary warrior Beowulf is well known to those familiar with the literature of the Middle Ages. Within the society of the story, there was a system in which the king or feudal lord provided land, weapons, and a share of treasure to his warriors in return for their support in battle. In the case of Beowulf, the King of the Danes, Hrothgar, accepted Beowulf’s offer to defeat a monstrosity known as Grendel that was terrorizing his people. Treasure was not only a tradition of thanks in that time but also something that was expected if someone assisted or completed a good deed for you. I think that Beowulf came to aid the Danes not only in thought of helping a fellow King but in more thought of the recognition and name that he would get along with the treasure that would be received. Beowulf strikes me as a very materialistic person and even after he kills Grendel he wanted to be able to prove what he had done. He wanted something that was tangible so that he could show Hrothgar and his people, but yet was content with having just Grendel’s mangled arm to show. I think that Beowulf is concerned with the tangible things in order to prove himself to others, but that he is worried most about his reputation and his status a bit more. In most cases is it easy to understand the relationship of material things to the characters but in the case of Beowulf I think that it is a little more complex then what is on the surface.
Beowulf seems to be a person who wants the title of being a hero and saving the day, but along with that he wants people to recognize that although they have a king who is supposed to have the resources to protect them, he came by his own will and asked for nothing in return for defeating Grendel. When we think of the context of how a hero is recognized in literature we think of someone...