The Hero Connection: From Beowulf to the Avengers

What is a hero? In the case of Beowulf, it is quite clear that he is willing to put his own life on the line to help King Hrothgar save his people. Honor is everything to a true hero, whether during the Dark Ages or in modern times (Jankowski). Beowulf can be likened to super heroes children relate to such as Thor and other Avengers, Spiderman, and Indiana Jones. Also real life heroes selflessly laid down their lives in wars and the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. These men and women, whether real or imagined, help shape our children’s perceptions of right and wrong. On another note, the villains are just as important because they help readers distinguish good from evil. The role of the epic hero is illustrated in the character traits of Beowulf as well as in contemporary superheroes and also in the Western culture.

Beowulf shows great heroism when vanquishing Grendel, his mother, and the dragon which finally cost him his life. He proved he had honor, courage, nobility of character, and selflessness. According to Seamus Heaney, “Beowulf was composed sometime between the middle of the seventh and the end of the tenth century” (Heaney). At this time, tales of heroism flourished and were sung by the bards. As a child, Beowulf visited King Hrothgar’s great mead-hall when his father had asked for the king’s help. When Beowulf heard about the attacks by Grendel, he did not hesitate to go to Hrothgar’s aid.

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When thinking about modern super heroes, the Avengers (Thor and his friends) bring to mind the same honor, courage, and selflessness. These men and women lay their lives on the line to vanquish the evil villains and thereby save the world. By using their super powers and great intuitiveness, they definitely show their heroism. Indiana Jones is constantly battling the forces of evil for the good of mankind. Whether he is fighting Nazis or some other evil entities he rids the world of villains and lives to fight another day. Also…