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Once Called a Hero - The Warrior Beowulf

            "The victory, for the proof, hanging high/ From the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster's/ Arm, claw and shoulder and all" (Raffel 486-488). In Beowulf, a heroic warrior, Beowulf, takes on monsters and demons. He shows his amazing strength and bravery to earn the loyalty of his people, fighting for them up to the day of his death. To most Beowulf would be considered to be a hero. However, Bewoulf's traits and actions conflict with today's idea of what a hero is. Although considered a literary hero during the Anglo-Saxon period, Beowulf would not be considered a literary hero in modern times.
             Based on Anglo-Saxon values and ideas, Beowulf would be considered a literary hero during that time period. The Anglo-Saxon idea of a hero is to be bold, strong, and fearless, as well as to symbolize meaning to his people. In an essay written by Yee Ling Lam, he compares the differences between modern heroes and heroes of the Anglo-Saxon period. Lam states that "in Anglo-Saxon culture and literatures, the characteristics of a hero are to be bold, strong, fearless, loyal and [show] indifference to pain" (Yee Ling Lam). Heroes during this time period were simply elevated humans born with these qualities. Literary heroes were not just simply bold, strong, fearless, loyal people though, they also had meaning behind them. The Columbia University Press defines an epic hero in literature during this time period as someone who "embodies national, cultural, or religious ideals and upon whose actions depends to some degree the fate of his people" (Columbia University Press). During the Anglo-Saxon time period heroes were more than just characters in stories, but, in a way, reflected the Anglo-Saxon culture. Anglo-Saxon heroes are bold, strong, fearless warriors, that reflect the Anglo-Saxon culture.
             Beowulf characterizes the Anglo-Saxon's idea of a hero. Whenever his people call upon him, Beowulf always shows confidence and bravery.

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