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The heroes of today have maintained the same general values of a hero that were established centuries ago. No matter what their background seems to be, the fearlessness and sacrifice they possess exceeds that of the average man. Heroes were often looked upon as a real, tangible being, but now they are more fictionalized in many comic books of the 20th century. The epic poem, Beowulf, and Daredevil, created by Stan Lee, are both superheroes of their times in more ways than one.
Although written in two completely different time periods, the strength, devotion, and bravery they exemplify reflect the lifestyle of both the Anglo-Saxon and modern day societies. The strength of a hero is not only measured by the size of their muscles, but also by their mentality. Beowulf has the strength of 30 men and swam to the bottom of the lake without coming up for air. “Beowulf, Higlac’s/Follower and the strongest of the Geats-greater/And stronger than anyone anywhere is this world… ” (Lines 194-196).
His battle with nine sea monsters while swimming for seven days in the sea solidified his strength. The enormity of his strength could not be measured until he swam to the bottom of the bubbling lake to fight Grendel’s mother in the battle hall. Daredevil, a New York lawyer fights the criminals that he could not bring to justice by legal means in the courts. His blindness only increases his desire to wipe out evildoers. Daredevil and Beowulf believe they can take on a single villain or an entire army by themselves without the help of others.
Their “super human” qualities allow them to battle whatever comes their way. Beowulf and Daredevil both fight for the justice of their people and nation. Beowulf does this by killing Grendel and his mother and the dragon Then he tested his strength against mine, Hand to hand. His pouch hung At his side, a huge bag sewn From a dragon’s skin, worked with the devil’s Skill; it was closed by a marvelous clasp. The monster intended to take me, put me Inside, save me for another meal. He was bold and strong, but once I stood On my feet his strength was useless, and it ailed him. (2084-2092)
Beowulf took on the strength of 30 men to get back on his feet and bring the happiness and serenity Herot when he ended Grendel’s feasting. On the night of the boxing match at the theater Matt Murdock witnesses his father’s brutal murder. He takes on the identity of Daredevil and vows to find the person who killed his father and fight him like a man until justice prevails. No matter how you look at Beowulf or Daredevil they both encompass all the aspects of a hero, including exceptional amounts of strength.
There is a mold in which the devotion of a hero comes from. This characteristic is the hidden drive that makes a hero do what they do. Beowulf shows his devotion to Hrothgar when he travels the seas to help fight the monsters that have terrorized his people. Beowulf “Heard how Grendel filled the night with horror/And quickly commanded a boat fitted out, /Proclaiming that he’d go to that famous king. ” (197-199). Soon after he set sail and landed on the shores of Denmark he is looked upon as something greater than just a man, he is looked at as a savior.
Beowulf single-handedly saves the people of Denmark from Grendel and his mother. When he returns to Sweden barring gift for his king it shows his strength and fame were no match for the monsters in Denmark. Daredevil experienced the same complexities when he is faced with sudden blindness and the death of his father. Although this is a crippling ordeal, he is empowered to save the people of New York City from all criminals and villains who evade his justice and prosecution. He will remain on the hunt for the villains until the city has no more crime and avenges his father’s death.
Both Beowulf and Daredevil must embark on journeys of their own to reach the people who are in need of their help. At time, they themselves are the one’s in need of help. Beowulf crosses the great sea to save the people of Denmark and Daredevil crosses his handicap of blindness to save the people of New York City. Beowulf’s devotion to bring peace to Herot and Daredevil’s devotion to make New York a better city portrays their devotion. Bravery is not measured not only by the battles they win but how far they will go to help another person. In some cases only their lives separate them from saving another life.
Beowulf fights Grendel, his mother, and the dragon in his old age because he feels it is his duty, he is showing his bravery to his people. “That noble prince would end his days of earth, soon, would leave this brief life, but would take the dragon with him, tear it from the heaped-up treasure it had guarded so long. ” (2341-2345). Daredevil wanted to avenge his father’s death and would do anything to meet up with the killer. When he is looking for his father’s killer he does not hesitate to help others and feels that he has to do it. Daredevil fights many battles against different villains and criminals.
Even though he lives a double life as a lawyer and a superhero he never fails to help someone. Beowulf is not scared of the monsters when he fought them by himself because he is steadfast in his beliefs. “Grendel is no braver, no stronger, than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not, easy as it would be. ” He never asked for help from the other men even though they were there to help. Daredevil learned his strengths from practice and mistakes. His senses were given to him as a gift for saving the old man from death. His blindness is his treasure and a part of his new world.
No matter what came across their paths, their hearts always played a role in their decisions and made for a fair fight. It was man against man the whole way through. Beowulf fought a good clean fight when he battled Grendel with out any armor or weapons. Grendel is no braver, no stronger Than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not, Easy as it would be. This fiend is a bold And famous fighter . . . I will meet him With my hands empty-unless his heart Fails him, seeing a soldier waiting Weaponless, unafraid. (677-685) Bravery is the one quality that overthrow all of the other qualities that a hero can inherit.
Although Beowulf and the Daredevil are from two different time periods they share the same essential characteristics of devotion, strength, and bravery. These two men went from heroes to superheroes in the end and extended the reaches of the mold they came from. Their characteristics allowed both of them to accomplish there personal goals and to bring peace and happiness to others. If there is not a story about your legacy somewhere in time, than you are not a hero in the eye of the beholder. All heroes come from many different backgrounds, but no matter where they come from they fit the mold.
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