Beowulf How To Make A Hero Essay

“It was belief and commitment that fostered not only heroes

but hero worship; not only great leaders but devoted followers.”

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Such a statement is one of wisdom, standing the test of time. The

composition of a “hero” is universal, no matter how grand the

scale. It all originated with belief and commitment–but it can

also be applied to the devoted fans. These characteristics

are shared to make the system work for thousands of years.

The beliefs of a hero are the stepping stones for the

other components. It is all centered around the trust and

faith of the world around him, earthly and ethereal. A hero must

believe in a superior being, whether it be a master or God. For

example, in Beowulf’s last words to Wiglaf, he speaks, “…the

Ruler of men has no cause to blame me for the slaughter of kinsmen,

when my life passes out from my body.” (Pg. 49) This explains both

his trust that he will be protected by God and his fellow Geat.

Another attribute of the hero is commitment. One does not

become a legend through a brief fling or giving up easily. Wiglaf,

who appears to carry on the torch for Beowulf and the end on the

epic, is the only warrior who is willing to stay behind and risk

his own life. He says, “…we promised our lord who gave us these

rings, that we would requite him for the war gear…if need such as

this came upon him.” (Pg. 48) Commitment also includes an abundance

of perserverance. Beowulf was not obligated to be a good samaritan;

he willingly and continuously proved to be a “good king.”

The concept of a “hero” would not exist if there were no

supporters. It’s the followers that glorify the deeds of these

protagonists. They have their beliefs too–heroes symbolize

perfection and the solution to all of life’s problems. Once Beowulf

emerged from the swamp with the head of Grendel’s mother, his

followers took off his armor, carried off the head, and hung it up

in the mead-hall. (Pg. 30) They live vicariously through Beowulf;

they want the fantasy.

Heroes and hero groupies are integrated into today’s society,

1300 years since Beowulf’s time. The late Mother Theresa is most

likely at the status of a heroine. Her devout belief in

unrelentlessly aiding the lowliest of the world attracted millions

of admirers and sponsors. She almost takes the quality of a

superhuman being or divinity. Even after death, her glory and

message of justice and humility survives through other supporters.

It can ultimately be assumed that, “A hero cannot be a hero unless

in a heroic world.”


I'm Sandulf

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