Every culture since the beginning of man has people that they identify as epic heroes. Although these heroes are named by societies in different eras, they usually all have characteristics that represent the definition of an “epic hero”. Epic heroes all share common traits such as: bravery, loyalty, strength, love of glory, justice, weakness and devotion. Beowulf is an epic hero from 11th century England who is famous for defeating Grendel. Spider-Man is a more recent epic hero in American culture famous for fighting evil with powers he got from a spider. Beowulf, the cocky hero but the great savior of Sweden and Spider-Man, the hero of New York who saves people in trouble, are similar in many ways like most epic heroes. They both have strengths and abilities that the average human lacks, tragic flaws, and both have the love of glory.
Beowulf is born an average man. He’s not what we would call today a “super-hero”. He is however much stronger than the average man. And fights battles and shows strength that the average person doesn’t have. For example, when fighting Grendel he ripped off his arm with his bare hands. He also fights a dragon with only a sword and is able to defeat it. The average person could not do that and it is an example of his strength and also his bravery. Spider-Man is also born an average man. He gains special powers as a teenager after getting bit from a radioactive spider. These powers give him abilities that the average person doesn’t have such as strength and the ability to create spider webs that he uses in creative ways. While neither of these heroes is known as having super-human strength, they are both extremely strong and along with their courage allows them to fight battles that the average man could not.
While both of these heroes are awesome with great strength, they still have their flaws. Spider-Man’s flaw is that he is young and inexperienced and he’s not as mighty as some of the other superheroes and villains out there. Despite his youth and inexperience he is still able to take down some of the mightiest villains by using his intelligence. “Spider-Man’s vulnerability is what makes him such a great superhero ”. One of Beowulf’s flaws is that he can appear to be overconfident. Others see him as prideful and cocky. He would have been better liked if he had been more humble. However he used his confidence to help him stay brave. Both of these heroes use their flaws to drive a positive outcome. They do not let their flaws hinder them. Both Beowulf and Spider-Man love the glory they receive. Spider-man is a young superhero so when he defeats a villain that is bigger and badder he gets excited and proud of himself. He also loves knowing they he helped his city. Beowulf loves the glory. That’s the reason he fights these monsters. He wants the fame and the glory that comes with taking them down. As an example, before he died he said “Now, Wiglaf, let me look on the gold I have bought with my life.” He cared more about seeing the gold than anything else. These heroes have different perspectives on their glories. Spider-man gets excited when he saves his town. Beowulf likes the fame and money he gets out of it. They both use glory as a motivation for their actions.
These two heroes were famous at different times and for different reasons, but are alike in many ways as most heroes are. They both showed strength and courage; both are motivated by glory; and both have flaws but use them to their advantage. Both Beowulf and Spider-Man will be looked at as heroes for generations to come.
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