Beowulf: The Hero An epic is a long narrative poem on a serious subject. It usually is about the adventurers of a hero. The hero is usually a figure of high social status and one who is often of great historical or legendary importance. In the epic poem Beowulf, Beowulf is the hero. He shows that he is a great man by always putting other things before his own needs. He is important and needed by his people and is known by many as a courageous and helpful person. Beowulf is a good example of a courageous and strong hero. He shows all of the qualities and traits that a true hero possesses. Beowulf is a very brave and courageous person. His actions toward the monster Grendel that was terrorizing the Danes show that he is willing to help others. In an epic it is usually found that the hero often determines the fate of a nation or group of people. Beowulf has definitely helped the Danes and his own people the Geats in their triumph over evil by killing Grendel his mom and the dragon. He has helped mankind a great deal and because of that he is made king of the Geats. Beowulf’s brave deeds and accomplishments have contributed to the Danes and the Geats survival. Another characteristic of and epic poem is that the hero performs outrageous and sometimes superhuman deeds. Beowulf is a prime example of this type of hero. He volunteers himself to fight Grendel and when Grendel’s mom seeks revenge he goes to the lake and takes on the challenge. He shows the great qualities of strength and power when, after fifty years, he takes on the dragon who has become a threat to the Geats. He always battles his enemies with pride. When Beowulf and wiglaf fight the dragon and everyone else becomes cowardly and runs off to the forest and hides. Through this it is shown that they possess courageous traits and are genuinely ready and willing to help. Often in an epic poem, the plot is complicated by supernatural beings and events. Good examples of this are when Beowulf fights Grendel. Grendel is a monster and there is no such thing as a monster. The same goes for the dragon. Throughout history there has never been a dragon that gets mad that a thief has taken part of his treasure. Also when Beowulf is dying he asks Wiglof to show him the treasures before he dies. Everyone knows that you can not hold off your death just so you can see treasure. These examples show the complications that are found throughout the plot of an epic poem. An epic poem usually presents the situations of good and evil and life and death. The epic poem Beowulf possesses both of these things. The good is shown through the actions of Beowulf and Wiglaf when they defeat the evil, who are shown by Grendel, his mom, and the dragon. Good and evil always leads to life and death. The good live and the evil die most of the time. In Beowulf the good defeated the evil. Beowulf was known by the Geats and the Danes as a very generous, kind, and strong person, who would give anything for the Survival of the people. These characteristics are what help to classify Beowulf as a true epic hero.
The Triumph of Les Misérables
The Triumph of Les Misérables
Les Misérables (1862), a novel set in early nineteenth century France, presents a story of obsessions in honor, love, and duty, and through it redemption and salvation. It is the story of the poor Jean Valjean, condemned to an unfair amount of time in prison and a life on the run for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family. The kind act of forgiveness from a Bishop with whom Jean Valjean stays one night, changes the course in which he chooses to live his life. Under a different identity, he becomes wealthy from a business he starts and later is elected mayor of the small town of Montreuil. He falls madly in love with Fantine, one of the workers in his factory. Because Fantine, one of the very poorest and most pitiful residents of Montreuil, has a child born out of wedlock, Jean Valjean as the respected mayor must keep his love for her a secret. When Fantine dies unexpectedly, Jean Valjean vows he will raise her daughter Cosette, and shield her from all the evils in the world. Through all of this, Jean Valjean is being pursued by Javert, a policeman whose entire life has been dedicated to finding Jean Valjean. While running from Javert, Jean Valjean and Cosette find themselves in Paris in the middle of the 1832 Revolution. As Cosette matures, she falls in love with Marius, a young revolutionist. Despite the objections of Jean Valjean, Cosette continues to secretly visit Marius at night. During the revolution, Marius is injured badly and Jean Valjean, after finding a love note from Marius to Cosette, quickly comes to the rescue of the wounded gentleman. Eventually Jean Valjean and Marius’ Grandfather consent to the wedding of Cosette and Marius. In this novel, “there is a point at which…
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…’s anguishes with obsession, help him to more effectively relate his novel, Les Misérables, to the reader. In the book’s ending, Jean Valjean dies knowing he is happy, content and prepared for his death. His adoration for Cosette has left her loving him and satisfied with the life he has helped her create. Before Jean Valjean dies, he says to Cosette and Marius, “I die happy. Let me put my hands upon you dear beloved heads” (399). Like Jean Valjean, Javert’s obsessions rule his life, but with negative intentions rather than positive ones. Once Javert realizes his obsessions are nothing but empty promises, he too is empty and chooses to end his life. Three of the main characters of the story, find that their perseverance and obsession to have the life they wish for ends triumphantly.
Hugo, Victor. Les Misérables. New York: Fawcett Premier. 1997.