Essay: King Arthur Is an Epic Hero

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King Arthur is an epic hero and few before him could match that description. Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and Achilles were all ancient heros that can be comparable to King Arthur. Their royal family line, their weaknesses, and their iconic deaths forever link them as well as distinguish them from one another. Given these particular characteristics, all these idols were made iconic because of the battles they fought in and for the purpose of their journeys.

All characters have a royal family line. This not only signifies that they are of royalty background, but it signifies that their upbringing had to do with how they ended up acting. King Arthur, who was the son of a King and Queen, had all the opportunities handed to him. This however added on to his heroism because it made him seem prepared for the job. Beowulf's heroic actions led him to continue his path to royalty. After fighting he was made King of an entire nation. Gilgamesh, just as those mentioned before him, also had a connection to royalty and a power to eventually rule after his accomplishment, "As for you, Gilgamesh, let your belly be full, / Make merry day and night. / of each day make a feast of rejoicing. / Day and night dance and play! / Let your garments be sparkling fresh, / Your head be washed; bathe in water. / Pay heed to a little one that holds on to your hand, / Let a spouse delight in your bosom." Achilles, just as Gilgamesh, comes from a royal family that is also of a celestial component. However, King Arthur and Beowulf are seen as epic heros because of the source of their creation. But Gilgamesh and Achilles have a mythical component to their creation and are therefore classified as legendary heros instead.

A weakness in every hero is seen as being a lot worse than it would be in a regular individual. Characters that are seen as being heroic are seen as being invincible, unable to be attacked or defeated. The case however, is that these characters' weaknesses is what defines each of them. They all possess a potential risk for their existence. It is these characteristics that make the readers realize that these individuals are also human. Although each character has a different flaw to their nature, the existence of these imperfections define each respective character. King Arthur's weakness was his love for his wife. After she was unfaithful to him, King Arthur exposes his weak pained side. Achilles had a fatal flaw: his heel. He was unable to cover his heel from danger and was therefore killed through that same spot. Gilgamesh possessed his weakness in his character. He was not a humble person and thought that his fear of death would allow him to take on more precautions in an attempt to avoid dying. This ended up also becoming a fatal characteristic.

Their iconic deaths were also characteristics that made them epically legendary. King Arthur died in battle, fighting for what he believed in. He was fighting his son in order to defend his kingdom. He thought that avoiding his people from being invaded was far more worthy of defense than his own evil son. King Arthur however, dies fighting his own product. Achilles, as previously mentioned dies by being fatally injured in his ankle. His weakness was actually what ended up killing him. Beowulf also has an ironic death by a dragon. Beowulf was seen as being invincible and as if nothing could touch him, but it was during battle that he perished. Gilgamesh, just as Achilles died as a result of their weakness. Gilgamesh had taken a dramatic attempt at avoiding death by avoiding certain pathways, but at the end, almost reaching his goal, he was killed by a snake. All these heros die going toward a goal. They are all governed by fate.

These characters are all by definition, epic and legendary heros. King Arthur, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and Achilles all have a royal bureaucratic background that allows them to develop as heroic characters. Their weaknesses however, bring each of them down. And their iconic deaths, give them memorable characteristics that end up defining them as the heros that they all were.

2.)

Monna Giovanna and the Wife of Bath both portrayed female characters that became of importance in their lives. They were not necessarily royalty, but they ended up being able to choose their own fate, which was very unlikely during the Medieval time period. They however had to be subjected to their stereotypical role as a woman (one more than the other). They also had a differentiating factor from one another: their beauty. And finally, it was their marriages that ultimately allowed them to become who they had always wanted to be.

Both Monna Giovanna and the Wife of Bath had to live the role of a Medieval woman. Monna Giovanna was a strong woman to begin with. She had the qualities that every woman should have during the Medieval time period. She was able to marry her very rich husband, have a son as an heir, and fulfilled her wifely duties while being at the side of her husband. It was what every woman should have been doing during that time period. The Wife of Bath also had that same future, but she went about it in a very different way (which will later be addressed). The Wife of Bath was also able to fulfill the duties that a woman was supposed to fulfill and the jobs that she had, according to the needs of her husband. This subservient behavior linked both of these female characters. However, one character served this role more faithfully than the other. Because of the circumstances that led Monna Giovanna to be widowed, she was not immediately pushed into another marriage. She wanted to take her time and decide for herself what would be best. Something that was unheard of for women to decide during the time period. The Wife of Bath on the other hand, embraced her role as the stereotypical woman, despite the way her husband was toward her. The roles within these societal roles that were played by each character further attributes to their personalities.

It is the term beauty that further links and contrasts both female characters. Giovanna was beautiful and admired by many. She was so beautiful and elegant that she practically had people eating out of her hands. The Wife of Bath however, was the complete opposite. It was her lack of beauty that ultimately led to her fate. Because she encompassed the intellect to answer the very important question of what women wanted, she was able to marry the person who she wanted to marry, but it did not change her lack of beauty. Her "old hag" look did not allow her husband to be attracted to her. In both of these women, their looks ultimately define their existence. Monna Giovanna gets the chance at a second marriage because of her beauty and her second husband's complete infatuation with her. The Wife of Bath was able to forgo her repulsive look and turned into a beautiful person. She had always been a beautiful person on the inside, but once that was reflected in her exterior, she was able to excel.

Each of these female character's respective marriage is what gave them meaning. Monna Giovanna was a female character who got to fulfill both roles. She was the dutiful wife who stood by her husband's side until his death. Because of her strong presence in his life, he made her the beneficiary of his estate if his son would die without an heir. At that point, she was not being seen as property or as a societal hierarchical entity, she was… [END OF PREVIEW]

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