Beowulf: Das angelsächsische Heldenepos Beowulf discussion


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What is your idea of a true hero? How is your idea of a hero similar to or different from the epic hero Beowulf?

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message 1: by Temple (new)

Temple Make sure your answer shows your understanding of the text.


message 2: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Mcnair My definition of a hero is one who laughs in the presents of evil. One who is brave, confident, and always is there for his people in there time of need. Beowulf, in my opinion, displayed a few of the characteristics of a hero. True he was brave and adventurous, however, he was selfish because he did all of his heroic events in order to show his greatness. For example, in the battle against Grendal he was willing to risk his life by fighting without weapons to show his might. A real hero would not foolishly unarm himself only to prove his strengh. Beowulf, however, did show great bravery and good judgement during his battle against the dragon, even though it was there that he met his demise. He rose to the challenge to protect his kingdom and did infact, with a little help, do just that.Although foolish, He never once feared for his life as was quick to take on any challenge. In conclusion, besides his arrogants, beowulf is a good example of a true hero.


message 3: by Compton (new)

Compton Well my idea of a hero is someone who takes on larger-than-life trials and who shows great bravery in all aspects of his character. Honor is a key part of a hero's character yes, but like Beowulf, I believe that at a certain level of heroism, its totally cool to be cocky. Like his decision to face Grendel without his sword and shield...that's just his judgement coming into play because he knew all he needed was his mind to trick the beast and make him fall for his trap. In my opinion, your mind can be the most powerful weapon at your disposal if you know how to use it properly. Which brings up another heroic trait...you've gotta be sharp and quickly be able to react in any situation. That's what can decide the difference between victory and defeat, or life and death for the hero. So personally, I think Beowulf was an alright hero?


message 4: by Jeremy Williams (last edited Aug 30, 2010 08:07AM) (new)

Jeremy Williams I think of someone who, in the opinion of others, has heroic traits or has performed a brave act and is regarded as a representation or ideal is a hero. Heroes always have people to look up to him and he will always excel when the going gets treacherous. Beowulf is a good example of a hero, because he stared terror in the eyes and saved his land many of times. He additionally showed honesty, bravery, selflessness, and courage because he was definite that he would defeat Grendel. Beowulf has all of the distinct qualitiesof a hero and that is why he is a perfect example of a hero.


message 5: by Luke (new)

Luke Shaw My idea of a hero is a strong, honorable, intelligent being who does the right thing in any situation. Beowulf is not the ideal hero. To me he comes off as a renegade who is self serving in most aspects. He does the right things, such as helping king Hrothgar with Grendel and slaying the dragon for the thief but his reasons for doing these things are for his own glory. Beowulfs self-serving arrogance is his downfall in the end. In my opinion the dragon he slays was robbed and Beowulf has no right to kill it but Ailey for glory he attempts to slay it and he dies in the process. A fitting end for Beowulf I think.


message 6: by Luke (new)

Luke Shaw My idea of a hero is a strong, honorable, intelligent being who does the right thing in any situation. Beowulf is not the ideal hero. To me he comes off as a renegade who is self serving in most aspects. He does the right things, such as helping king Hrothgar with Grendel and slaying the dragon for the thief but his reasons for doing these things are for his own glory. Beowulfs self-serving arrogance is his downfall in the end. In my opinion the dragon he slays was robbed and Beowulf has no right to kill it but Ailey for glory he attempts to slay it and he dies in the process. A fitting end for Beowulf I think.


message 7: by Olivia (new) - added it

Olivia In our society when most people think of a "hero", we think of the smoking-hot prince charming figure coming to save the damsel in distress or the strong, supernatural guy who flies in just in time to defeat evil. However, in my opnion, a hero is a person who always does the right thing despite the situation. He or she always looks out for the well-being of others and does whatever it takes to uphold the virtues of bravery, loyalty, genorosity, etc. Beowulf was a decent heroic figure because he defended a neighboring country against the monsterous Grendel. However, he was a little too boastful which I don't believe is very honorable to do as a "hero." Despite his arrogant ways, Beowulf did protect a country against evil and led his men to also slay the dragon which makes him a heroic figure to me.


message 8: by Victoria (new) - added it

Victoria Swinney When I hear the word "Hero", I think about a knight in shining armor, fighing for the beautiful princess. He is always good-looking, and always win. But, my idea of a hero is different from Beowulf. He was very proud of himself, his battles, and victories. Yes, he was fighting for a good cause, defending his homeland, but the manner in which he went about it was not in the least bit humble. He wanted everybody to know about his victories and wins, I think a true hero would let his actions speak louder than words, and humbly recieve the praise that follows. I concede that he did have a good record with the wins, but his mouth made him an annoying bragging figure, which for me lost the "shining armor affect".


message 9: by Coreyb44 (new)

Coreyb44 When I think of a hero I think of someone who is kind and caring, but also at the same time very strong, wise, and honorable. My idea of a hero has the same qualities as Beowulf but also resembles some differences. My hero would do what Beowulf did, fight for a good cause such as defending his homeland and people, but my idea of a hero would be more honorable about it. Beowulf went about it in a brutal way, while my hero would be more merciful. I must say though, Beowulf is almost my idea of a "perfect hero."


message 10: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah Richerme My idea of a hero is someone is strong, not just physically, but strong mentally, also. A hero has to be able to think quickly in a tough situation. They also have to be ready to give it their all in any problem they face. If someone claims to be a hero, they can't back down at the last second expecting someone else to come along and finish their business. Beowulf was a perfect example of this. He fought for a good cause and wouldn't back down, despite any fear or second thoughts he may have had. He fought and died for what he believed in and proved himself a true hero. Sure, Beowulf's boastfulness was something he could have worked on, but he backed himself up and "saved the day."


message 11: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Cannon My idea of a hero is someone who is strong-hearted and brave. He is someone who will do the right thing at all costs. He will want to be there whenever there is danger, and always put others before himself. Beowulf embodies a true hero in many ways. He is strong and he fought for his people more than once. He helped the Danes with Grendel and his mother. He gave his life fighting for his people. He was brave in many ways, but he also did everything for the fame. He wanted to be remembered. He was very boastful. So, all in all Beowulf was an okay hero. He did great things for his people, even if it was to be remembered.


message 12: by Trey (new) - added it

Trey Brown My idea of a hero is someone who is very head-strong and courageous. A hero is someone that never backs down from any challenge. A hero will also help anyone in need. Even though he did his good deeds for the fame and attention, Beowulf is a prime example of an epic hero. hke helped the Danes because their leader helped his father a long time ago. He was willing to put his life on the line for someone elso. In my opinion, that's the greatest aspect of a hero.


message 13: by David!! (new)

David!! The Root a HERO
A hero is what we call those who save, rescue,or those with great strength or skill, or even someone who preforms above and beyond their duty. Through the years they have been made the central topic of legends and childhood idols,and is in a sense the embodiment of what every human strives to be every day. However so many fall short due to the lack of understanding of what a hero is. While many heros do have amazing ablities and seem invinceble, what makes a hero a hero lies in his/her heart(and I'm not talking about blood and four beating chambers. although those are nice too). I believe the two main qualities of a hero are selflessness and above all honor. All though there are many more qualities of the heart that may be present, such as courage, integrity, love, and determination. All of these originate from selflessness and honor. If someone has selflessness in the sense of placing others or a higher purpose above one's self, they then become more than themselves. They become added effort to the GREATER GOOD. And from that comes the courage to do what is nessesary and love for a cause with breeds determination. And someone's personal honor I believe is the most important thing any man, women, or child can have, because humans fail and life is hard and eventually when fame fades into the dark and respect is shattered on the floor. Those moments are the times when the thin line between right and wrong becomes blurred and coruption and temptation start to seep into veiw. In the those times when the only thing a man has left is his honor, it is the only thing that can save him from himself. The drive to know that in the end, I did what was right and gave my all, that never ending pride in works, this honor is the driving force in every hero. This is root of a hero's heart!


message 14: by Bryn (last edited Jan 27, 2012 05:18PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bryn Hammond I think Beowulf is my ideal hero. Just about my perfect hero.

He's often criticised for his boasts, even in the scholarship; but boasts were a cultural thing, and he cites his past feats by way of credentials for the job he's about to undertake. When he boasts in Heorot, he's been egged on, or rather invited to give his 'beot', to tell his tales: to offer his credentials. Also, the boast, in the culture, is a standard to live up to: he's told his aim, and now he has no choice but go through with the fight. You give your boast so you can't back out (as does a drunken coward or two in the story).

I find him absolutely unselfish. And he's gentle-hearted. At the end, the lament for him talks about his tenderness, his comradeship, in short his good heart. They don't even mention the ogres and dragons he slew, in his lament.

What's more, Beowulf is fighting a losing fight. That doesn't stop him. His is a sad story, terribly sad; and he himself, childless, is a sad figure at the end. Nevertheless he goes on courageously and gives his life for his society - a society he knows is on the eve of ruin. What more can you ask?

There is a strong element of 'the freak who's on our side'. That is, Beowulf is huge, too huge to be quite human, and uncanny in other ways; even his naivety or simplicity is a little like the monsters he fights. Beowulf is almost one of the monsters, but one who fights on the right side: hence the love for him. They love him as a defender - when mere humans can't defend - and perhaps, as a guy who might have been another Grendel.

I think I worship Beowulf. I can't name a better hero. Nor a better person to read on both Beowulf himself and his poem, than JRR Tolkien: 'The Monsters and the Critics', an essay, best thing ever written on the subject. If you ask me.


Hannah I really enjoyed reading this discussion! Great insight and thoughts!


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