Trouthe vs Strength:The Differences Between Two Heroic Ideal

The epic story of Beowulf was composed over 1200 years ago when beliefs and ideals were much different than that of today. The heroes of this time sought out fame and glory and would acts that brought them the most fame and glory. The more battles you won and the more you showed your generosity to your people for supporting you, the more fame and glory you would achieve. Beowulf was a man of great power who was known for his massive strength, “in a handgrip harder than anything/he had ever encountered in any man/on the face of the earth” (750-751). Beowulf’s encounter with Grendel would be the beginning of a long reign of fame among the Danes. He had saved them from “a powerful demon, a prowler through the dark,” (86-87) that would attack Heorot out of envy after being condemned to a life of solitude. Beowulf further proved his strength in the fight with Grendel’s mother who came to avenge the death of her son, as he had to travel to the unknown and assured his people that he did not fear death. He told his people, “when a warrior is gone,/that will be his best and only bulwark” (1388-1389). Beowulf shows that there is no shame in dying and that you will live on after death with glory. Once again, Beowulf is victorious in the battle with Grendel’s mother and returns to his people for many years until he faces his final foe, a fire-breathing dragon. Beowulf seeks to enhance his glory by insisting that none of his men come to his aid, he will conquer the dragon on his own. He further puts his life into the hands of fate: “what occurs on the wall/between the two of us will turn out as fate,/overseer of men, decides” (2525-2527). Beowulf embodies the ideals of life, that one can make life greater by giving it away to others rather than hording it to yourself. By losing one’s life, you are in fact gaining life. [The epic of] Sir Gawain and the Green Knight takes place about 400 years after the time of …

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