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Beowulf - Research Paper Example

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In each and every literature genre, authors create a multiplicity of themes to help grasp the spirit of their ideas. Even though majority of authors will reveal their thought, they will do so with very sublime purposes…
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Download file to see previous pages In each and every literature genre, authors create a multiplicity of themes to help grasp the spirit of their ideas. Even though majority of authors will reveal their thought, they will do so with very sublime purposes. Presenting a classic example of this kind of intention, Rosland Barthes looks at the aim of literary work “in making the reader no longer a consumer, but a producer of a text” (Cohen, 1). As if according weight to Barthes assertions, Voltaire states “the best way an author can be a bore is to say everything” (3). In this regard, the literary conception of heroism in “Beowulf” appears to agree with Voltaire’s and Barthe’s to a larger extent. This is because the anonymous poet in Beowulf appears to share his heroic deed with the reader while still giving him/her a chance to establish the element of heroism according to his or her understanding of this concept. And because the poet leaves the tasks of establishing the confines of heroism to the reader, the reader is therefore compelled to look within to determine the components that make heroes. This is essentially what Dean Traylor belabors in his article “The Movie versus the Poem: the changing face of Heroism.” In this article, Dean explores the place of “Beowulf” in the context of the declining heroic ideas that were synonymous with the 8th and 11th century literature. According to Dean, Beowulf was written at such a time when the Germanic heroic ideas were at their peak (Traylor 1). This explains why when put in the current context the poem somehow looks archaic primarily due to the changed conception of the heroic ideas over the years. This therefore put Beowulf in very good stead in portraying the decline in heroic ideas and what is left from this loss in the 21st century. However, most importantly, “Beowulf” gives the reader an opportunity to reconstruct the heroic ideas which is what Dean refers to as participating in the production of text rather than being just a passive reader. Giving an overview of the characteristics of a hero, Robert Ingersol states that ‘when the will challenges fear, when the duty tosses the gauntlet down to destiny, when honor ridicules to compromise with death – this is heroism (Ingersol, 360). Looking at Beowulf, there is no doubt that he is consistent with Ingersol’s idea of a hero. Using Ingersol benchmarks to identify and measure Beowulf heroism is one of the acts where Dean indicates as “participating in recreating the text of the poem” (Traylor1). In the contemporary world, heroes are normally regarded as gallant individuals who perform exemplary acts not for their own interest but either for everybody in the society or another person other than themselves. The character Beowulf in the poem appears consistent with this. This is because Beowulf embarks on a journey to Heorot with the sole intention of killing Grendel who has been terrorizing King Hrothgar subjects for some time. In fact, there is no doubt that this particular act is selfless because by virtue of being a foreigner, Beowulf is not threatened by Grendel whatsoever but still find it fit to put his life in line for the welfare of others. Another aspect that further reinforces the selflessness of Beowulf act can be found in King Hrothgar warning to Beowulf of how dangerous Grendel is, a warning he disregard in its totality. The hero in Beowulf cannot be suppressed by such warning because even after being warned he informs the lord of Heorot that he is conscious of the fact that Grendel repulses weapons when attacked. Full of boldness, proclaims his resolution to all and sundry “with the grasp, I shall grapple with the enemy and fight for life, foe against foe (Beowulf, 32). He also turns down the benefit of a shield and a sword, thereby opening a new battleground where none of them hold any advantage over the other. There is no doubt that despite sharing several qualities the kind of heroism in this part deviate slightly from the contemporary meaning of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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