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The Hero In Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Anglo-Saxon Hero

Decent Essays
During the Anglo-Saxon literature and culture, to be a hero was to be a warrior. A hero had to be strong, and have the presence of intelligence and bravery. The warriors had to fight unto their death when needed in order to fight for the glory of their people. In addition, these heroes had to still be able to encompass humility and care in pursuance to be considered the perfect Anglo-Saxon hero, but that is proven not to be an easy task. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf illustrate heroes in the face of urgency, however each character views their own importance in their society. Both heroes display the attributes of an Anglo-Saxon hero, but Beowulf tends to reside in popularity whereas Sir Gawain values his dignity. To sacrifice a life is not related to the sacrifice of who one is; one should not sacrifice one's dignity to try to attain glory. Beowulf and Sir Gawain both offer themselves to fight which displays the characteristic of bravery in them, essentially allowing them to move beyond their fears. In Beowulf, Seamus Heaney illustrates the “panic after dark” and how the people are “riven by the terror” each night (Heaney 192). Beowulf, “the mightiest man on earth, / high-born and powerful,” (Heaney 197-198) hears about Grendel and announces his plan which captivates the people’s attention as he moves “about like the leader he was, enlisting men, / the best he could find” (Heaney 206). Beowulf perceives himself as everyone else does, the strongest man on
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