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Epic of Beowulf Essay – Beowulf as Epic Hero

Beowulf as Epic Hero

Epic heroes usually exemplify the character traits most admired in their societies, and Beowulf is no exception. “Beowulf” is set in the Anglo-Saxon society, a time when war was rampant among the many peoples trying to take over the different kingdoms of England. In this dangerous, violent time people lived in constant peril and jeopardy. These conditions only allowed people of great bravery to survive and men of outstanding courage were admired the populous. These warriors fought for their leader and tribe in return for treasure and protection. This relationship between the lord and his men was the basis of the Anglo-Saxon society. The epic poem “Beowulf” is a perfect example of how this system worked in these trying times.

The warrior in the Anglo-Saxon civilization had many duties to fulfill. He was obligated to respect and protect his lord as well as defend his lord’s honor. The demonstration of personal valor was also very important in these times. Beowulf is “Higlac’s Follower” and works to please his lord. He is afraid that “My lord Higlac / Might think less of me” (l 191-192) if he uses weapons in battle. Not only does Beowulf work to please his lord, but he also works to protect Hrothgar, the lord of the Danes. As the poem shows, when

In his far-off home Beowulf…(l 131)

Heard how Grendel filled nights with horror

And quickly commanded a boat fitted out,

Proclaiming that he’d go to that famous king,

Would sail across the sea to Hrothgar (l 134-137).

Beowulf is going out of his way, “across the sea” to help a lord whom he is not obligated to. He is doing so out of choice to show his respect for Hrothgar, and to help the poor people threatened by Grendel.


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…s. Both Hrothgar and Beowulf adequately filled their places as a ruler.

As clearly indicated through the characters of Beowulf and Hrothgar, the ruler-warrior relationship during times of great danger was very important for the survival of the Anglo-Saxons. As long as this relationship remained stable, both the ruler and warrior would remain protected, rewarded, and fairly happy. Beowulf and Hrothgar both men of great valor, were praised by all. This simple system set up between warrior and leader was the basis of society at the times, and destroying this structure would surely destroy a tribe’s chances of survival in this time of peril. Therefore, if Beowulf did not honor the Danes’ lord and Grendel was allowed to live, Hrothgar and the Danes would surely see their demise. This is perhaps why bravery was of such high necessity in the Anglo-Saxon society.

Essay on Satire in Lysistrata

Satire in Lysistrata

Satire is a literary manner built on wit and humor with a critical attitude directed to human institutions and humanity. A successful satiric play will show certain truths about society and then try to improve upon them. Satire is meant to be constructive rather than destructive. Aristophanes uses satire in Lysistrata to convey many different themes such as war and peace, the struggles of power and class, and the life and death issues that are seen in war. Satire is successfully used and seen in Lysistrata by stereotyping women in general and then the different classes of women as well. Double entendres are seen throughout the play to help add humor to the play. Sex is used as humorous tool but only to covey a deeper theme that consists of war and peace and also of life and death.

Aristophanes stereotypes women as bickering, self-centered, unintelligent people in the beginning. They are sex driven and selfish. Lysistrata is upset that the women are late for the very important meeting “Here I’ve called a meeting to discuss a very important matter, and they’re all still fast asleep” (180). Calonice sums up what women are thought to do all day, and also what they represent to their households; “The women! What could they ever do that was any use? Sitting at home putting flowers in their hair, putting on cosmetics and saffron gowns and Cimberian see-through shifts, with slippers on our feet?” (181). It is in fact these very frivolous ideas that are used to bring peace to the two cities. Throughout the play Aristophanes begins to knock down …

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… convey deeper themes of life and death, the struggles between power and class structure and also the societal differences between men and women. Aristophanes uses humor to hook his audience into his play, and then undermines the surface humor with much bigger thematic issues. If this play had simply been about women withholding sex for other reasons such as wanting more money for shopping or other frivolous ideas it would not then be considered a satiric comedy. Satire requires more than physical humor. An issue must be raised such as the life and death theme that is seen in the war in Lysistrata, and a solution must then be made. Aristophanes created the women in the beginning to be bickering, unintelligent, and self-centered people. But in the end it was their idea and compromise that ended the war.

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