The Influence Of Beowulf In Today's Society

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When it comes to literature, sometimes it is hard to say which books will live on through the ages and which ones will be covered in dust forgotten on a book shelf. One of the most bitter, endless and irresolvable discussions in the literary world can be expressed in a single question: What makes a book a classic? There are those works that have proven to be literary classics: The Scarlet Letter, Of Mice and Men, anything by Shakespeare, just to name a few. There is one particular work that has truly withstood the rest, and is credited as the first composition to be written down in the English language. Of course there can only be one: Beowulf. In the late 900s, two anonymous scribes wrote the story on parchment using West Saxon, a Germanic …show more content…

Perhaps the biggest and most concrete way in which society is impacted by this text today is through the notion of what it is to be famous and what celebrity actually involves. Beowulf, as befitting his status as an epic hero, presents readers of all ages with a model of what it takes to be considered a mighty individual worthy of fame. In many ways, Beowulf is a hero who sacrifices everything to maintain his reputation and heroic status. Note, for example what he says before facing his final …show more content…

To answer that question, one must go back to the idea of the “hero complex.” Joseph Campbell has written numerous theses and books regarding the topic of heroes and the connections found throughout all forms of literature. In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell explores the theory that important myths from around the world which have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, which Campbell called the “monomyth.” In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell summarized the monomyth: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow

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