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Beowulf - the Ideal Hero

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Essay title: Beowulf - the Ideal Hero

Achilles, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Samson and Heracles can all be characterized as heroes. However, each of these characters embodies different attributes that earn them the heroic distinction. This paper will seek to show that Beowulf is the “most” heroic figure based on his adherence to the heroic ethos. Also, the character of Gilgamesh will be used as a means of comparison to further showcase the heroic nature of Beowulf.

The heroic ethos is a set of values that prioritize and glorify the valor of an individual. The motivation of the hero is to garner fame and immortality in legend, resulting in feats of excellence. Characteristics of the heroic ethos include service to people in the upper level of the hierarchy (e.g. relationship between lord and thane), a special relationship to god (special does not necessarily mean positive as in the case of Heracles and Hera), greatness in warfare/slaying, loyal, courageous, indispensable, and (almost) invulnerable. For the hero, the highest good is

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