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Beowulf, Sundiata, Heroism in the Epic Tradition
Hygd, Freawaru, Hildeburh, Thryth and the monster Grendels mother. Most of these women seldom venture beyond conventional stereotypes of being caregivers, hostesses or keepers of the peace. Only
text, a supernatural force, and the celebration of the hero. Structurally speaking, an epic is "a long narrative poem on a great and serious subject" (Lucas). A primary epic
pagan elements. The world pictured in Beowulf is dominated by warriors, men who placed their faith primarily in two things -- their leader (their "thane") and in "wyrd" (a
in defending his people. It is a story that has its origins in pagan culture, but it was recorded by a Christian scribe (Saupe 97). Therefore there are "overlays" that
are epitomized, as well as how they endure within their most supreme existence, Beowulf also displays various sociological and humanistic tendencies that are not often recognized in the traditional telling.
of King Hrothgar in defeating a man-eating monster, Grendel, who is terrorizing his people and killing his warriors each night. There is, likewise, a similar threat to King Hrothgars people.
great mead-hall Heorot, which is ruled by Hrothgar. Section VIII of the poem pictures Beowulf addressing the assembly and bragging extravagantly about his own brave, skill and heroism. He says,
Aeneas is bound by the heroic values of a warrior class. However, while Aeneas first inclination is to fight the invading Greeks, he is presented with portents and powerful visual
is a woman so evil that she deserves death. Through the poem, Grendels mother is pictured as an "evil, masculine, monstrous woman" (Porter). The Beowulf poet uses the word
the author weaves the two entities into the work. It is important to understand that in the heroic tradition, Beowulf is a conqueror of sorts. He kills the monster Grendel.
are representative of the earnest attempts required for such characters of this particular genre to assert their worthiness; indeed, when one looks carefully at the inference of such supreme power
the Church deemed it proper to allow them to retain many of their former customs, providing those customs were not explicitly forbidden by the Bible. The same approach applies
chronicle their initial assessment of one another. The Queen also has her say on the matter. Historically speaking, what these sections serve to do is show the importance of
through numerous means, especially contrast and comparions. Grendel is shown to be totally without honor and is wild. "Grendel, who haunted the moors, the wild marshes, and made his
ago a hero was most likely male and invincible. Heroes were the real deal then. They were strong and manly and although they were allowed to express emotion, they were