Heroism In Beowulf And Frankenstein Essay

952 words - 4 pages

With fear comes courage, with experience comes bravery, and with pain comes strength. One may assume that these traits are the exact characteristics a hero. However, heroism can come in many different forms. Victor Frankenstein, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Beowulf exemplify many different traits of heroism.

The perfect image of a true hero is Beowulf. His courage and confidence seems to come naturally. He is the ideal man; he puts others before himself and has amazing physical and mental strength. He is so revered that he can boast about his achievements without seeming vain. “I had greater strength on the sea, more ordeals on the waves as any other man.” (Luizza 69)

Perhaps his most powerful trait is his apathy towards death. "If battle should take me...wyrd will unwind as it must!" (Luizza 67). He is able to ignore his fear, if he has any at all, and put all of his effort towards fighting evil. Before fighting the dragon he states, “It is not your way, nor proper for any man except me alone, that he should match his strength against this monster, do heroic deeds. with daring I shall get that gold-or grim death and fatal battle will bear away your lord!” (Luizza 131). This shows that he doesn’t have to think twice before risking his own life for the safety of others.

Beowulf is incredibly altruistic. He feels obligated to defend his people and he does so with absolute determination and bravery. He was beloved by everyone who knew him. “They said that of all the kings upon the earth he was the man most gracious and fair-minded, kindest to his people and keenest to win fame.” (Luizza 150). Even after he is fatally wounded by the dragon, his dying wish is for his tomb to serve as a lighthouse. No matter how terrifying and deadly monsters seem, it is Beowulf's obligation to save people and defeat evil.

Even in battle, Beowulf strongly believes in righteousness. He thinks that no one should have the upper hand. He vows to bring monsters down with his own amazing strength. For example, in his battle against Grendel, Beowulf refuses to use a sword. “I consider myself no poorer in strength...than Grendel does himself; and so I will not kill him with a sword...tonight we two will forego our swords.” (Luizza 73, 74)

Similarly, Victor Frankenstein has the intention of helping people by bringing knowledge to the world. He intends to “learn the hidden laws of nature" (Shelley 22) and discover scientific advancements that will sustain life. Tragically, quite the opposite conclusion is created.

In the beginning, Frankenstein is a very noble and knowledgeable character. As a little boy, he longed to discover the elixir of life. “The world was to me a secret, which I desired to discover.” (Shelley 21). He wishes to discover things that will help the world...

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