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A Broadening Perspective Of The Hero's Journey

807 words - 4 pages

The hero's journey is the typical path the hero in a mythological adventure follows and is typically characterized by certain key stages. In the Anglo-Saxon poem, Beowulf, the hero's journey can be characterized through a valiant warrior as he quells evil and protects his people but the hero's journey does not necessarily require itself to be seen through the eyes of a inherently righteous man. A few hundred years later writers still made great use of the hero's journey in their writing but from a different perspective. Christopher Marlowe's 16th century work, Doctor Faustus, follows another form of the hero's journey, the flip side of Beowulf, as one sells his soul to the devil and pursues more evil desires. While both protagonists are entirely different they both remarkably follow the same journey of showing a great division over time in what one might consider to be a hero.
The call to adventure is what causes the hero to go off on an adventure into the unknown. "The lord of the Shieldings" suffering became "known" worldwide which brings about Beowulf's call to adventure because as a great warrior he could not allow the "seasons of woe" go on any longer (Beowulf 148-150). The hero within him can easily be seen as he is someone willing to fight for people who are not even his own. At the risk of his own life he sales across seas to combat the powerful demon Grendel. Typically Beowulf is a model for a hero at the time. Acts of bravery and leadership define the hero's that set out on these quests. When Faustus misinterprets the bible and questions what kind of "doctrine" states that one "must die an everlasting death" due to their "sin" this begins his calling to adventure (Marlowe 42,44-45). At this point he begins to turn his life for the worst. Up until he comes to this realization heroic qualities, such as his vast wisdom, can be seen within him and sympathy for his situation is strongest but his ignorance causes him to become blind to the consequences of his decisions. Faustus comes to a realization that nothing he does will have an affect on his fate causing him to reach out for dark powers and sign his soul to the devil. Faustus' calling starts him towards a very dark journey absent of God in...

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