Epic Of Beowulf Essay

927 words - 4 pages

Beowulf

Beowulf vs. The Knight from Canterbury Tales

A hero or heroine can be found in many different forms. There are certain characteristics that make up a hero or a heroine. Some of those characteristics are someone who is endowed with great courage, loyalty, obedience, cleverness, strength, and someone who is noted for special achievement.

The hero Beowulf, from the story Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of a hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters dreadful monsters and the most vicious of beasts but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are excellent and he is even able to brag about all his achievements. Beowulf is the ultimate epic hero who risks his life countless times for immortal glory and for the good of others.

Not to be outspoken is another great hero. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, written in approximately 1385, is a collection of twenty-four stories allegedly told by various people who are going on a religious pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. In the General Prologue, Chaucer introduces all of the characters who are involved in this journey and who will tell the tales. Among the many characters is the Knight. The knight, “possessed fine horses, but he was not gaily dressed". Indeed, the knight is dressed in a common shirt, which is stained "where his armor had left mark" (literature book, pg. 107, line 78). Clearly, the knight possesses an outstanding character. Chaucer gives to the knight one of the more flattering descriptions in the General Prologue. The knight can do no wrong: he is an outstanding warrior. The Knight remains modest and polite. The knight is a picture perfect example of the chivalric code: he is devoted and courteous off the battlefield and is bold and fearless on it.

Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. Beowulf is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands by ripping off Grendel's arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel's mother, who is seeking revenge on her son's death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster's neck with a giant's sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall....

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