Epic Hero In Beowulf

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What is a hero? The technical, dictionary definition of a hero according to the EOD (English Oxford Dictionary) is “a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities” (“Hero”). While this seems like a fairly reasonable definition, do all heroes possess all of these qualities? During the medieval times, stories were told of knights and of fierce warriors who all became heroes for defeating beasts, going on grand adventures, and fighting for love. But were they really heroes according to the definition? Figures such as knights, kings, and warriors often were courageous and made great accomplishments. However, in many cases they lacked what even many modern-day heroes do: nobility. “Beowulf”, an epic…show more content…
While these men aren’t your typical “everyday heroes” they still have some heroic qualities like courage and persistence. However, like Beowulf, they are still lacking some as well. The knight himself (the one who is telling the story of the cousins) was described in the general prologue as “a worthy man... [who] loved chivalry, truth, honour, freedom, and all courtesy” and was “a truly perfect, gentle knight” (2-3). Along with possessing these noble qualities, he had also fought many battles. The description Chaucer made for the knight was that of a true hero. However, the knight’s characters were not quite as noble as he was. Arcita and Palamon, sworn brothers who almost died together in battle, were not given very good descriptions, but based on their actions and interactions with each other, neither had very much honor. When they both fell in love with Emily, the Duke’s (Theseus’) sister-in-law, they argued over who would have her. However, neither man was in the position to be hers anyways because they were both jailed for life. But when Arcita was released yet banished, he couldn’t help but disguise himself and return to Athens so he could continue watching her. However, Palamon too was dishonorable by escaping from prison. When Palamon revealed himself to Arcita after seeing him in the woods, they still

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