Beowulf as a Hero Lesson 1 Journal Journal

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Beowulf as a Hero

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 1 of

Journal Exercise 1.3A: What makes a hero?

A hero is a person who has courage even though he or she also has fear. It is a mistake to assume that heroes are not afraid. They experience the same range of emotions as everyone else, but they keep on going despite fear, not because they have no fear. One contemporary hero is the Dalai Lama. He has led his people through their exile with grace and determination, despite immense challenges. His very life has been threatened by the oppressive government that wants to squash his nation, but he has been resilient in the face of these threats. He confronts evil with peace and stands up for his fellow Tibetans. For many years now he has been fighting what many consider a losing battle, but he keeps fighting nonetheless.

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 2 of

Journal Exercise 1.3B: The Epic Hero

Is on a quest

Beowulf is after all the golden treasure promised by the old king Beowulf accepted the gold for After Beowulf kills the monster's mother, he accepts more golden treasure from the Danes and sails home with his men.

Has superior or superhuman strength, intellect and/or courage

The Danes live in fear of Grendel, yet Beowulf was anxious to meet him in battle.

Beowulf is also incredibly powerful, besting Grendel with his bare hands.

Demonstrates bravery through his actions,

Killing the monster that plagued Hrothgar's kingdom.

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Reflects the values and culture of the society in which he lives, and Beowulf is a braggart and extremely proud of his actions, a trait valued by his people.

Beowulf is also loyal -- the main reason he traveled across the sea to help King Hrothgar of the Danes was because Hrothgar had saved the life of Beowulf's father years earlier.

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 3 of 16

Journal Exercise 1.3C: Responding to Beowulf

Images are words that help us see something and often hear it

Journal on Beowulf as a Hero Lesson 1 Journal Assignment

The first time Grendel is introduced in Beowulf, he is described as "living in darkness" and is said later on to be living in hell on earth. Grendel is an embodiment of evil. He is a monster that relished "savage war" and is described as having "plundering claws." The description of Grendel's lair, where his body was eventually deposited, is of pure darkness.

List three ways that Gardener's depiction of Grendel in the excerpt of Grendel

Grendel is portrayed in mainly physical terms in the original work, but Gardner delves into his psychology and potrays him as being more human. Grendel is isolated and lonely and lives with his mother, who is in her old age and doesn't provide any real company for him. He is the only creature of his kind and has no one who understands him. He wants to be understood, however. His long life becomes a kind of curse because of his sadness. This depiction does evoke sympathy -- it's good to remember there are always two sides to every story and that those we see as evil have their own stories, too.

The Connection "Life in 999: A Grim Struggle" describes daily life in late Anglo-Saxon

Life in 999 moved much slower than life today, and the characters in Beowulf seem to have an endless amount of free time to fight battles and go on their quests, without the many distractions of the fast-moving life that we have today. Forests are mysterious places, and the mysteries of life have not yet been explained. The feudal lords described in the Time article are definitely remiscient of the characters in Beowulf, and the nobility is described as spending their free time fighting battles, a definite parallel to our story.

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 4 of 16

Journal Exercise: 1.4A: Kennings

Light-of-battle = sword

Fighting-gear/Battle-gear = body armour

Battle-sweat = blood

Sky-candle = sun

Sword-hate = a feud

Modern Kennings: land line, rug rat, boob tube, couch potato, tramp stamp

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 5 of 16

Journal Exercise 1.5A: Epic Conventions and Epic Heroes

The story of Gilgamesh is one of the prototypes of the epic poem and fits all of the characteristics of the genre extremely well, the hero Gilgamesh and his best friend Enkidu go on several dangerous quests and incur the wrath of the gods. They defeat monstrous enemies like Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven, which was out to punish Gilgamesh for rejecting Ishtar. Even Enkidu's existence is part of the epic story, as he was created by the gods to distract Gilgamesh from one of his heroic missions, helping the citizens of Uruk. The poem is in narrative form, also a requirement of the epic, and the scale is vast and grand -- Gilgamesh and Enkidu travel far and wide on their adventures.

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 6 of 16

Journal Exercise 1.5B: Responding to Gilgamesh

In the epic, Gilgamesh and Enkidu eventually become great friends, but it wasn't mean to be that way. Enkidu is a wild man who was raised by animals and is ignorant of all of the rules of human society, until he is with Shamhat. (Enkidu, . . . your mother is a gazelle/and . . . your father who created you, a wild ass./[You were] raised by creatures with tails,/and by the animals of the wilderness, with all its breadth. -- Tablet VIII ) Gilgamesh, by contrast, is from the city and was Bred and raised to be a warrior king. Gilgamesh also desires immortality because of the tragic loss of Enkidu.

Heroic Achilles

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 7 of 16

Journal Exercise 1.6A: Defining Honor

What do the concepts of honor and personal excellence mean to you?

Honor and personal excellence are the ideal to strive for on everyday life. Good relationships are built on treating other people honorably and striving for personal excellence means never being disappointed in your efforts, regardless of outcome.

How can an ideal of honor make society a better place? Could it also harm society?...

Honor is having integrity in your own actions. Personal excellence is living up to your own best expectations. If one's personal honor is taken too seriously, it can be extremely damaging when that honor is infringed upon. People have been known to do terrible things to other people because they have felt the need to defend their reputation or honor.

Do you agree with Homer? I'd also like you to write down what you think society's

Once you accept the definition of honor as the way in which society views you positively, then it is worth defending, as Homer says. I do agree that it is more honorable to stand up for what you believe in and fight, and possibly die, than to turn away from what you believe in and let others do the fighting for you.

Lesson 1 Journal Entry # 8 of 16

Journal Exercise 1.6B: Responding to Literature

Answer the following questions in your journal. Your answers should be written in paragraph form.

Was Hector doomed by fate? List three different examples of, to, or discussion of fate in the story, and explain what effect they had on the outcome for the character to which they refer.

1. Achilles seems to defy fate in the story, as he is able to destroy Troy before it was fates to be so.

2. Hector's fate is to die at the hands of Achilles, and he is indeed doomed to do so. He accepted his fate and did not beg Achilles to spare his life when the time of his defeat came.

3. Zeus cannot bear to decide the fate of Hector and lets the other gods do it -- Athena reminds Zeus that no decision needs to be made; Hector's fate is sealed.

List three examples of hubris, or extreme pride, you see in the story or you hear about happening before the story begins.

1. Achilles believing he is invincible, only to be hobbled by the shot to his namesake tendon.

2. Agamemnon's hubris was that he thought he could change by his own actions. He did not accept limits to his power and the people of Troy suffered greatly in his pursuit of it.

3. Hector's hubris, described by Priam, is that he will think that all the marks and scars of battle will be viewed as marks of glory.

Achilles and Hector are rival warriors, but are they both heroes? Discuss your opinion

Both Achilles and Hector fit the traditional role of hero. Achilles is given a choice of whether or not to fight in the war and become a great hero or stay home and die at an old age. He choose to fight in the war, and although he wants to help his people, he is also extremely selfish.

Hector, however, is definitely the more heroic of the two characters. He faces his fear… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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