King Arthur Essay

Pages: 2 (603 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Drama - World

King Arthur: The Prototypical Anglo-Saxon Hero

It is hard to imagine a schoolboy in the Western world that has not heard of King Arthur or his Knights of the Round Table. Riding off on quests, engaging in righteous battles, and standing for all of the virtues one could want, King Arthur's tale and persona are immensely exciting beginning at a young age. As one grows older and learns other aspects of the tale, it becomes more exciting both due to certain titillations and due to the increasing complexity and nuance that one can find in the imperfect hero that King Arthur and (most of) his Knights were. As exciting and well-known as his legend is, however, King Arthur is not the prototypical hero of today's world. He is fascinating precisely because he is of a different time, when a different brand of hero was needed, respected, and adored.

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One of the key elements of Anglo-Saxon heroism, which can be seen in epic poems such as Beowulf as well as in the Arthurian legends, is physical strength and courage (John 1996). The Christian influence on Anglo-Saxon culture and concepts of heroism increased significantly between the time of Beowulf and the emergence of the Arthurian legends, which added qualities such as chastity, humility, and moral righteousness to the list of top qualities necessary in an Anglo-Saxon hero (John 1996). Taken as a whole, Anglo-Saxon heroes were expected to be brave, clever, self-sacrificing, loyal, humble, and wise (John 1996). Though there are other contenders for the title of the prototypical Anglo-Saxon hero, most especially Beowulf, King Arthur is more correctly seen as the quintessential hero of his time and culture due to his ability to lead equally well in peace as in times of battle and strife.

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King Arthur.  (2011, June 15).  Retrieved April 14, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/king-arthur/591613

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"King Arthur."  15 June 2011.  Web.  14 April 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/king-arthur/591613>.

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"King Arthur."  Essaytown.com.  June 15, 2011.  Accessed April 14, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/king-arthur/591613.