Why Beowulf is a hero is going to be stated and after establishing the characteristics of a hero, all the factors of a villain will be named. Later the paper is going to acknowledge the stereotypical traits of a hero and then compare Beowulf to some of today ‘s most popular heroes. Finally it´s going to be expressed how the Anglo saxon who wrote Beowulf inspired other authors and how the majority sees heroes.
Throughout history, tales of lionhearts have surfaced. Regardless if their story is based off of true events or centered around an adventurous fantasy, people do not hesitate to display their appreciation for such literature. A hero can generally be defined as a character with noble qualities, or someone who takes valiant actions. Everyone has their own denotation of a Hero. The definition has even been condensed from the ethical knight who slew a dragon, in order to save his hometown, to the ordinary man who gets the girl. Anyone can do a righteous deed, but not everyone is inclined to make a sacrifice for that deed´s fulfillment. Throughout time superheroes of fiction were scripted out a tragic story or past in order to fit the qualification of sacrifice, but the stereotypes of heroism had to come from somewhere. That´s why the theme of heroism and the characteristics of a hero originated with the tale of Beowulf.
Beowulf is the epitome of a hero. Being characterized by the qualifications of a hero, Beowulf can easily be dubbed as literature ‘s first superhero. Having ¨the strength of thirty men,¨ (Beowulf 380 ) the geatish hero sets one of the main standards of being a warrior of justice. Power and courage are stereotypical traits found in superheroes, and they both originated in the story of Beowulf. Besides possessing a supernatural ability or power, a hero must present their capability. Disposing of an aggressive harasser for the public good is one of the main trials a superhero must go through. Beowulf kills the baleful Grendel and its mother, saving Hrothgar and all of his danes. Beowulf generated the stereotypes for heroes. His character and legend will later serve as a template for modern day superheroes such as Superman, The Punisher, Captain Marvel, Afro Samurai….
Earlier in this paper the phenomenon known as good vs evil was mentioned. Warrior Beowulf saves the day and many lives by defeating an evil beast. There could be no perception of good without the acknowledgment of evil. Like in the poem of Beowulf, there must be an evil being or entity that only exists to crash parties. Considering beowulf´s role for modern day superheroes, did the treacherous beast known as Grendel set the standards for modern day super villains? Upset with a ton of noise, that´s being produced by the generation ‘s most hardcore social gatherers, the monstrous Grendel sets off kidnapping, and killing all those who were participating in the partying. Slaughtering thirty men, Grendel ‘s actions had won him to a one way ticket to beowulf´s fists. Like many villains, Grendel had his reasons for attacking civilians. Rarely is it seen for evil doers to stir up trouble for no reason. Whether the motive is money, power or even boredom, there ‘s typically a purpose. Arguably justifiable, Grendel ‘s actions are what generated a trial for Beowulf, which is the job of every villain in a narrative.
It´s difficult to compare your tragedy to those who ‘ve lost their entire home planet. Superman, one of the mostly known superheroes resembles, a lot like the champion Beowulf. Both heroes come from an elite family, and both superlative men prove to be unrivaled in righteousness and courage. An antagonist possessing great power is presented in both tales. Superman, however, is not considered man as he is an alien who posses many superpowers to help him establish justice. Although Beowulf posses the strength of multiple men, he was still a mortal man and faced the high probability of death. Beowulf ‘s tale ends with him defeating a great dragon at the cost of his own life. Other heroes face more than just one person. Vigilantes like the punisher face enemies such as a corrupted government or society as a whole. Beowulf never had to face a kingdom or a corrupt king, but how he interacts with people shows his higher hero qualities. In Beowulf ‘s encounter with unferth, Beowulf sets the jealous dane straight by reminding him of his failure to stop the evil that´s been parading around. Afro from ¨Afro Samurai¨ is a lot of things. In a world where one ‘s power and skill can be ranked by numbered headbands, Afro seeks the number one spot in efforts of avenging his father ‘s death. In comparison both Afro and Beowulf seek reputation. It´s in Beowulf´s nature to want bragging rights and fame. Afro´s desire to be ¨number one¨ is what led to his name being well known all over ancient japan. Although the afro samurai´s motives are identical to Beowulf ‘s, his disposition is that of a completely different category. Beowulf is not the type to simple kill those who think lowly of him. As mentioned earlier, Beowulf´s social skills are pretty good. Even though some modern day superheroes do not posses such skills, they still hold at least one trait or ideal that Beowulf possessed.
Whoever wrote the epic poem ¨Beowulf¨ indirectly became an inspiration for many of today´s authors. Stan lee has created many heroes that resemble Beowulf. The story of Beowulf is what generated the story basis for heroes of today. Beowulf himself breathes the traits of a hero. Saving a kingdom by defeating multiple beasts is not the only thing that makes a hero. Acknowledging honor, and establishing pride are important. The stereotypical traits of a hero began with Beowulf. The stereotypical traits of villains originated from Grendel. The anglo saxon who wrote beowulf led many authors believing what makes a great hero. In the future new authors with new ideas are unintentionally use Beowulf as a template for their own heroes.