Examples Of Heroism In Beowulf

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A Thin Line Between the Brave and the Audacious: The Fragility of the Heroic Ideal and the Ideal Hero in Beowulf Given the high esteem in which the Anglo-Saxons held the Germanic heroic ideal, it is tempting to read Beowulf as nostalgic for the Germanic heroic past. Yet, even though Beowulf as a heroic figure is largely reminiscent of this heroic past, if not wholly emblematic of the heroic ideal, one might notice that the poem simultaneously appears to be remarkably critical of Anglo-Saxon heroism and its values. Even so, claiming that Beowulf is condemning and judgmental of the hero remains relatively problematic, as the question then remains of why the poem would appear to be exalting Beowulf. It is then essential to note that the poem…show more content…
In truth, there are numerous references to this ideal kingship throughout the poem. However, notably, it is not immediately evident that there is something potentially problematic in the ideal of kings, leadership and heroes. Levin L. Schückling in his paper “The Ideal of Kingship in Beowulf” describes this ideal as consisting of truthful behavior and the absence of malicious deeds, of faithfulness and loyalty to relatives and subjects, and the keeping of oaths and promises (Schückling 36). And to be sure, there is much evidence of this kind of kingship in the poem, particularly in the beginning as the reign of Hrothgar is being described. The poem quite expressly praises Hrothgar for being a king who “did not neglect his promises”, and distributed rings and wealth to his lords (Beowulf ll. 83-4). The ideals listed by Schückling which he identifies in Beowulf, then in one way seem to come out of healthy and perhaps even affectionate bonds between kings and leaders, and their

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