Superheroes 9/9 – Beowulf and archetypes

Today in class we read up to line #1303.

Once you finished reading we answered two questions:
1) Are there any images, situations or anything else that you recognize in Beowulf from other legends or stories?
2) Look back at your list of archetypes from the beginning of the year (or here: Archetype checklist) and check all that apply so far to Beowulf. Do we see the beginning of hero stories with Beowulf? Can we make predictions about the rest of the story based on what we know about these archetypes?


Read to line 1630. Start at “The Fire Dragon and the Treasure.” beowulf-3

In the comments below, expand on what you wrote in class for these questions. Pick an image or archetype and explain how it connects between Beowulf and the story of your choice. How has the image changed from story to story, and does that reflect on changes in the culture of where the story is from?


13 thoughts on “Superheroes 9/9 – Beowulf and archetypes

  1. Well when Beowulf slaughtered Grendel then Grendel’s mom found out and tried to take revenge as a mother losing her son this story arc reminded me of destinys Taken King, which is an installment of the dark below where it follows up the events after killing Crota, son of oryx to prevent a rise of enemies, the news of Crotas death reached Oryx who is like a parrotfish of both genders, so Oryx is distraught and tries takes revenge on those who slew her son, which lead to the foreseeable death of Oryx whos revenge is stopped by the “heroes” who killed her son. This seems to be a quest for identity because Beowulf is trying to make a name of himself so killing Grendal’s mom seems to be pretty dark but is seen good for it rids evil just like the guardians did to Oryx, but during that quest one must think of the impact that those actions have on the hero and his surroundings. Knowing that the beliefs of being good to go to heaven and being a warrior grants you it too, these ideas clash making it even harder for the hero to figure out who they are and can slightly see it based on there actions.


  2. So the Archetype of the tragic quest is what is in relation to Beowulf and his journey up until now. In the lines we needed to read, I pointed out that not only Beowulf has fallen to the dragon, which is tragic enough, but he was given the chance of being a king by Hygd. But instead of following a chance that’ll change his downfall, he went after the dragon instead. So his cockiness got the best of him and he failed as a warrior and failed to slay the dragon.

    A connection I could see is in the ‘Call of Duty Zombies’ storyline. Where Richthofen 1.0 is told multiple times by the other characters to not activate the teleporter, but he does, which leads to him being killed by an alternate universe self, and which was his downfall. His cockiness got the best of him.


  3. With Beowulf facing the dragon that begins to attack his kingdom after it’s treasure is stolen can connect the story of Moses when Beowulf believes this is happening because he’s angered God. This connects back to the story of Moses when God is angered by the Pharaoh not allowing the people of Israel to follow them, he sends out ten deadly plagues on the Egyptians with the last one being the death of the first born. In a way, even though we do not view the Pharaoh as “the hero” in this story, but we do view his downfall when he has angered God causing him to both lose his first born son and leadership. It appears to be the tragic hero when Beowulf becomes overconfident leading him to believing he can take down the dragon thus bringing him to his tragic death. Both “heroes” face the idea that they may have angered God (bringing in Christianity) which makes them blame themselves for what they have down and taking them down to their downfall in both stories.


  4. Agustin Rac

    In general by reflecting all the images and symbols in Beowulf’s story it seems that he can be seen as Jesus Christ. This is due to the fact that he give up his life to save other people.Therefore the three monsters that Beowulf faced before he died reflect back to how Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the desert three times. So the three monsters were temptation by devil which Beowulf defeated as Jesus Christ did with it at the desert. Another thing that Beowulf does before fighting was ask God’s help this reflects a lot to Jesus and how he always was praying to God and asking for strength to defeat temptation. Therefore Beowulf shows a big reflection on Jesus Christ but in different perspective because Jesus Christ was more in view of saving people’s life in earth and not looking for glory. Therefore the have similar story but there were some differences between their perspective. Therefore in Beowulf’s story has a lot Christianity such as Grendel’s being compared as Cain because both of them fall in to the tragedy of killing their brothers.


  5. The story of the hero “Beowulf” it’s similar to the Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, because in the story of Huck and Jim the Mississippi River represented a simbolism in the story, the river was the way to freedom for both of the main character in the book, as we know Beowulf always fight in water, the water represent a simbolims in the story. The water brings victory to Beowulf, and in the adventure of Huckleberry Finn the Mississippi River brings freedom to both character, Jim is able to escape and go to the free slave state and Huck is able to escape from his alcoholic father, who bits him every time he gets drunk. Freedom and victory correlates to each other, in both stories.
    Moreover in both stories, the mains characters have a goal, which is find freedom and live with tranquility in this world without any obstacles. The goal of Huck and Jim was get away from the people that want to hurt them, and Beowulf was is find who it’s the truly God, it’s the man earth( king) or the main who created this earth. Both main characters in the stories are searching for a path that will lead them to freedom and peace, Huck and Jim are searching for a heaven on earth, and Beowulf is reaching for a heaven that’s it’s beyond the planet.


  6. The battle between the good and the bad, a battle between two primal forces. Mankind shows eternal optimism in the continual portrayal of good triumphing over evil despite great odds. Beowulf always prevails even though his enemies keep getting stronger. For example, when Beowulf tears Grendel’s arm at the shoulder and Grendel runs to his home in the marshes where he dies. His next enemy is Grendel’s mother who seeks revenge for the death of her son. She is defeated when Beowulf takes a sword from Grendel’s mother and slices her head off with it. And the final enemy is the dragon who attacks the kingdom because its treasure was stolen. This is similar to when was Jesus had 3 temptations in Matthew and Luke. The devil wanted Jesus to make bread out of stones to relieve his own hunger, jump from a pinnacle and rely on angels to break his fall and worship the devil in return for all the kingdoms of the world. But Jesus manages to prevail satan as he remained to obey God. Both of the heroes in their story overcome the evil no matter how powerful they seem. Therefore there’s has been a battle between the good guy and the bad guy where no matter what, (most of the time) the good guy will win.


  7. Beowulf is an example of a tragic hero. When the dragon was attacking and burning down the towns, Beowulf refuses to assemble an army, instead, “The king of warriors, prince of the/ Weders,/ Exacted an ample revenge for it all./ The lord of warriors and leader of earls/ Bade work him of iron a wondrous shield (1433-1437)”, Beowulf makes an iron shield and prepares to battle the dragon himself. On lines 1476 and 1485-1486, ” ‘Many an ordeal I endured in youth… With hand and hard blade, I must fight for/ the treasure'”, Beowulf prepares to fight the dragon himself because in his earlier years, he was able to accomplish such feats and still believes he can single-handed defeat the dragon when he is not at his prime and aged 50 years. This ultimately lead to Beowulf’s defeat because he thought he could defeat the dragon on his own but he failed and his people together defeated the dragon. This brash and prideful action is similar to Batman’s Death in the family comic, it starts off with Batman and Robin (Jason Todd) watching over a bunch of criminals and Robin rushes in. Batman follows and they defeat the crooks but Batman scolds Robin not to be so reckless and rash, later on in the comic, Jason’s birth mother gets blackmailed by the Joker and while Batman stops the Joker’s plot to send laughing gas filled medical supplies, Jason tries to save his mother from the Joker by himself. He finds his mother and she leads him into a trap, Jason and his mother gets locked in a warehouse and bomb planted by the Joker goes off and they both died. Jason and Beowulf’s fatal flaw were their cockiness, they thought they can do everything on their won but could not and ended up failing.
    I believe that the overall message of a hero’s fatal flaw has stayed the same and stood the test of time but the way it is conveyed has changed. In Beowulf, his flaw was more obvious and pure whereas in Death in the family, Jason’s rashness was not as clear cut. When he went in to confront the Joker he was not thinking he would take them all down by himself, he was thinking about saving his mom. So in Beowulf, the archetype of a tragic hero is more raw and out in the open whereas in Batman, Jason was not trying to be rash but his actions came off as rash.


  8. Beowulf’s story resembles that of Hercules. For example his Viking warrior like characteristics is like hercule, they both possess this great power and strength as well seek great fame and to prove their worth. Beowulf does this when the king asks him to bring the head of Grendel Beowulf proves his worth and accomplish this task gaining more fame he is also granted more task or trials, like Hercules when he started to prove his worth after saving the city from the multiple headed monster he too gained fame and recognition. Beowulf does this for his King and Hercules does this for his father, these two story arcs resemble one another from the way the hero is constructed and their characteristics as well as their story of fame and greatness to their motives.


  9. There isn’t a lot of similarities between Bneowulf and Dante’s Inferno, but they both follow some steps of the 12 Steps of a Hero’s Journey.

    Ordinary World: Beaowulf starts off in Geatland and Dante starts off waking up in a dark forest on Earth.
    The Call To Adventure: Beowulf is summoned by Hrothgar to help take care of Grendel and Dante is told by Virgil that he must travel through hell.
    Meeting With the Mentor: Beowulf meets up with Hrothgar when he arrives and Dante is talked into going into Hell by Virgil who also leads them on their journey.
    Crossing the Threshold: Beowulf arrives at Heorot, the mead-hall and Dante, accompanied by Virgil, enters Hell and witnesses sinners outside the gates of Hell.
    Tests, Allies and Enemies: Beowulf fights Grendel for the first time and Dante encounters numerous sinners that want his pity and help, but when he tries to be brave, he just constantly faints.
    The Approach: Beowulf swims into the thick, bloody lake to fight Grendel and his mother and Dante, still accompanied by Virgil, approach the gates of Dis and prepare to enter.
    The Reward: Beowulf is given gold and fame by Hrothgar’s people and Dante and Virgil are granted passage through the gates of Dis after being attacked by furies that prevented them from entering the lower levels of Hell.
    The Road Back: Beowulf goes back to Geatland where he becomes king several years later and Dante and Virgil enter the 9th circle of Hell where they confront Lucifer and make their way back.
    The Resurrection: Beowulf defends his people and fights the dragon and Dante and Virgil exit Hell.
    Return with the Elixir: Beowulf dies where he earns everlasting fame and glory and Dante and Virgil make their way to Purgatory where Dante is now aware of the dangers of sin and the horrors that it causes in Hell.

    So even if they aren’t similar stories, the both follow similar paths in the 12 Steps of a Hero’s Journey.


  10. In the story Beowulf recieves a fate on his future from a sort of wise figure and he embraces his fate as something beneficial for him. Now thinking of connections one comes to mind, the story of Edipus. The main character Edipus recieves a horrifying fate from a wise figure, as a reaction to this he tries his hardest to run away from it but he does not realize that he is not able to change his fate. These two stories are somewhat similar, they are similar by how they get their fates but they differ by how the characters react to them.

    An archetype that comes to mind is the quest for identity. Beowulf is known before his battle with Grendel but he believes that if he defeates the ruthless Grendel then his name will be more known all around. That’s why it is a quest for identity because he wants to defeat Grendel so many people can identify him as this great warrior.


  11. Up to his end, Beowulf’s Quest for Identity is defined by his incredible feats and achievements, from slaying monsters like Grendel to performing inhuman tasks like swimming for 7 days. He does this for glory and self-satisfactory, and I can think of no other relative hero than Saitama (One-Punch Man). Saitama has defeated all of his opponents with a single punch, and has defied human ability beyond comprehension; jumping from the Moon back to Earth, smashing a meteor, and having his power being referred to as “god-like”. But most importantly, he too is a hero–in fact, one of his catchphrases is “I’m just a hero for the fun of it”. I believe Beowulf to be no different. He rushes to aid those who need him (many references to his Lord Hygelac) or the Geat people, while seeking glory which was something much soughted in the time period. Saitama also does this, helping his friends, town, or the Hero Association he works for. The two heroes live for the thrill of battle. The only difference between the two is that Saitama is not bounded to limits, being a parody character who is UNABLE to be defeated in his world; where he can be blinded by his own drive for battle and come out on top no matter the enemy, Beowulf can not. In Line 1604, it says “Then the King (Beowulf) was once mindful of glory”. His pride got the best of him, and he charged the Dragon head on and paid the ultimate price.


  12. In Beowulf, the antagonist is sent to King Hrothgar to kill a Grendel. Once the Grendel is killed the mother seeks vengeance and shortly after a few deaths , the mother is killed and beheaded by Beowulf. The Head is then shown to the King.
    During the Labours of Hercules, the antagonist is forced to serve King Eurystheus to make up for his sin. Hercules performs twelve labors and one labor is the killing of the Minotaur. Hercules travels to Crete to kill King Midas’s Minotaur. Once Hercules succeeds he then brings the Minotaurs head to King Eurystheus.
    Overall, both stories are similar but there are also differences. For instance, the Labors of Hercules follows the Greek idea of Pathos. On the other hand , Beowulf is different because the poem is based on the idea that war and fighting brings you glory.


  13. I thought both Hercules and Beowulf connect because they both are heroic in comparable ways and have similar backgrounds .For example both are strong and fight monsters also with similar acts .Hercules has trials and fights monsters through his adventure while Beowulf does the same and also both have a similar pride .For example both are fighting to show there meaning and to show his father or the king the fame they are meant to bring in there lives. This makes them have similar pride. Also during there adventure they have similar scenes .And both are similar by how they approach these scenarios.


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