Heroism And Leadership: Beowulf Essay

1824 words - 8 pages

In the era of my rule, a king was not someone who simply delivered orders to his “men” while he sat on his throne awaiting confirmation of a victory. Men admired their leader for: outstanding courage, selflessness to his tribe, personal valor, and ability to survive despite the toughest opposition. Heroism and leadership are characteristics that brought my fellow men to abide by my side despite the situation, which in response led me to become such an aspiring leader, and in the end a hero – the demonstration to attain glory through brawls. Traditions, natural laws, and religion are descriptions of my heroism and leadership.
In medieval literature, heroes are defined to be courageous, valiant, courteous, generous, and loyal. According to Napierkowski, he adds more to the nature of an Anglo-Saxon hero; a hero should be able to have the:
ability to live in harmony with both the laws and noble norms of society, to overcome opposition, and to demonstrate the acquisition of virtue by the way they live... at the same time, heroic leaders are exemplars for their followers and receive much of their power by personifying the virtues to which both they and their followers are committed. (503)
Napierkowski adds relationship to the list. The relationship is between the follower and leader – how they rely on each other. To attain a heroic title as a leader, the followers must obey the codes of nobility put upon society and successfully put it into play, as well as build a strong bond with the fellow leader.
Every Hero was a leader once, and every leader was once a follower. I am a great Heroic figure, but I was also a follower. I followed and performed duties for the second child of Healfdene, Hrothgar; head of operations in Denmark and the constructer of Heorot, the famous great hall (“Beowulf” 53-79). The connection of follower and leader is negatively displayed among one of Hrothgar’s followers in his law court, which in turn resulted in Heorot’s attack.
Phillips states that Grendel is a monster that came forth from a ragged society; tears flesh, and slowly break up nations causing mutilations of friendly/brotherly bonds (41). Grendel, along with his descendants, is a contradiction to an Anglo-Saxon society. A warrior should engage in battle with the enemy supporting his superior, and if a warrior doesn’t do the following, it shows their support for evil and chaos to overrun society. Although that ugly gremlin attacked Heorot, he is not the reason why the Grand Hall was attacked. Unferth, one of Hrothgor’s followers, resulted in its attack.
Unferth, a thane warrior, caused the attack of Heorot. This poor excuse of a Thane attacked me personally, but refused to engage in battle with Grendel. Refusal of a battle to protect a superior shows a disloyal, and cowardly follower. Not only do I defend Hrothgar as my leader, but I also showed loyalty and leadership when I replied to Unferth’s unpleasant verbal attacks stating, “The fact is, Unferth, if you were...

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