Relation Of Beowulf To Modern Society’s Notion Of Heroism

The Evolution of Heroism: From Antiquity to Today

What is the image of a hero? In an age where protection and defense are necessary, the concept of a hero came into being: a great defender and a fiercely brave warrior. On the surface, it is all physical. The skilled hero charges into battle, armed with only a weapon and his bravery. The outcome of the struggle ends with the successful slaughter of the enemy horde. The disadvantaged hero conquers the stronger foe, and the hero is born.

The leap from the old to the new hero leaves the skilled animal that would and moves to the intellectual moralist that dares. Both warriors, but their images could not be further apart. The image of a hero is now different than that of antiquity or even that of four generations ago. Today’s hero does not require a sward but a moral countenance; he does not serve himself but others, do not yearn for glory but justice and does not demand honor but equality. Beowulf most fits our modern-day hero image.

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Beowulf and Society: An Everchanging Image of Heroism

Beowulf, however, would not fit into the social context of the twentieth century. The polite warrior ready to battle for honor and glory is not the acceptable hero of today. As time skews the medium of life, with the everchanging build-up and resetting of social proclivities, moral distortions, and technological advances, the image of the hero inevitably changes as well. However, the concept of a hero remains constant. This is the vantage point from which we will evaluate the person of Beowulf as a modern image of a hero.

Beowulf exhibits a consistent quality key to his success as a hero. The quality Beowulf possesses is selfless bravery. What is a hero if not someone who sacrifices on behalf of others? Beowulf is not learning but acts on his virtue as experienced and confident. He needs to be led to his opportunity, but he is drawn to the opportunity to help and readily accepts its challenges.

When we meet Beowulf at the Danish shore, we immediately begin to see the qualities of a modern hero. Beowulf says he heard stories about the issues King Hrothgar and the Danes were experiencing (Beowulf 410-414). He describes the news as “hard to ignore” (Beowulf 410). A hero’s heart makes it hard to ignore people that need help.

The response to help is an opportunity to exercise a hero’s virtue, and a hero cannot stand idly when people are suffering. The issue of one’s safety must come into evaluation at this point because a hero must put his safety in the equation when the question is regarding helping fight a powerful foe. Beowulf bearing the stories brought to him by sailors, does not shrink from the occasion but rises to the occasion. He shows his willingness to sacrifice his safety for the safety of the people of Denmark.

Modern Day Heroes: The Intellectual Moralist

The modern hero acts selflessly because his concern for others’ well-being overshadows his own and defines him as a hero. Again, we see the selfless nature of this hero when he embarks on the quest to battle Grendel’s mother on behalf of the Danes. Not only is his bravery and selflessness on exposition once again but now it is coupled with apparent concern for his fellow man.

Before Beowulf plunges into the lake to fight Grendel’s mother, he calls on King Hrothgar, “If this combat kills me, take care of my young company, my comrades in arms. And be sure also, my beloved Hrothgar, to send Hygelac the treasures I have received.” (Beowulf 1480-1483). This proves Beowulf had a deep concern for his people and the welfare of his own King. After ensuring his men and King were secure to his desires, Beowulf continued his quest.

It is not by chance that Beowulf fits the mold of a modern hero; his selfless acts define him as a mold defines the shape of the liquid poured into it. A modern hero’s essential quality involves putting aside one’s self for the betterment of others. This must be possible to fit the image. Like modern heroes, Beowulf dares to position himself against greater odds for the wellbeing of others. This makes him the more modern hero.


  1. Heaney, S. (1999). Beowulf: A New Translation. W. W. Norton & Company.
  2. Thompson, J. (2015). The Concept of Heroism in Western Literature: From Antiquity to the Modern Age. Oxford University Press.
  3. Wagner, R. A. (2017). Modern Heroes: Evolving Definitions and Archetypes. Journal of Cultural Studies, 21(4), 255-270.

Bob Marley On Racism: Echoes From Trench Town To The World

My mother played his music loudly in our home and was the first to introduce me to Bob Marley. I grew up listening to his inspiring music, and at such a young age, I did not know how influential it was. If you were to travel anywhere in the world, you would realize Bob Marley is a popularly known artist. Many respect him, and his music has a reputation for being a religion on its own. Bob Marley will forever be recognized for impacting Jamaican culture, Rastafari religion, political issues, love, unity, and equality.

Bob Marley’s Influence and Legacy

Bob Marley helped introduce reggae music to the world, and he created what many believe to be the world’s most inspiring music. His life and music have acted as symbols for the real power of music, which is made with love and passion. He lived in Trench Town, one of Kingston, Jamaica’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Trench Town, both politically and socially, still maintains poverty and corruption. He struggled in poverty but, fortunately, found inspiration in music. Trench Town had many thriving local performers.

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Marley and his childhood friend, Neville “Bunny” O’Riley Livingston, dedicated much of their time to music. While he worked on improving his singing abilities, he met Peter McIntosh, who played a significant role in his career. In 1963, Marley, Livingston, and McIntosh created the Wailing Wailers. The group became popular in Jamaica, but they battled financial difficulties. Marley then moved to the United States, where his mother was. Marley later returned to Jamaica and met with Livingston and McIntosh to form the Wailers. After scoring a contract with Island Records, the Wailers scored their big break in 1972.

Rastafari and the Spiritual Journey of Bob Marley

Marley began to explore his spirituality and developed an interest in the Rastafarian movement. Rastafari is an Africa-centered religion that is not only religious but also political. It began in Jamaica in the 1930s. Bob Marley was dedicated to ensuring that the world learned about Rastafari, which made it a global phenomenon. Due to his message on this religion, there are followers in Jamaica and worldwide. His message was also extended to scholars who educate the public on Rastafari. This phenomenon would only exist with such significance with Bob Marley.

Like no other, Marley is associated with smoking marijuana or “herb.” He did not just enjoy weed as a recreational habit but was also an enthusiast of the plant’s meditational, spiritual, and healing capabilities. One feature of the Rastafarian religion is the ritual use of marijuana. According to this religion, marijuana should not be used recreationally but instead for religious and medical purposes. The purpose is to benefit meditation and help the user better understand the nature of the universe.

Bob Marley on Racism: Messages from Trench Town

The spread of Jamaican culture and the Rastafarian religion is attributed to Bob Marley due to the lyrical rhetoric in his music. His lyrics contain messages that display the areas of class and Marley’s life in Trench Town. The messages in his music express his memories of racism, cruelty, violence, and poverty in Trench Town. The lyrics of Marley’s music also contain religious messages. These messages explore his beliefs in the Rastafarian religion. He also spread his spiritual and political messages by using the rhetorical strategies of humble language, words, and calming sounds. He publicized important political and social issues, such as the living conditions of Trench Town and the cruelty he witnessed.

Bob Marley achieved several accomplishments during his lifetime. Serving as a world ambassador for reggae music is one great accomplishment of his. He earned induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and sold over twenty million records. After his passing, his music remains broadly praised. As many artists channel their anger into their music, Bob Marley does the opposite. He filled every song and performance with love, even while his country suffered pain, an authentic example of unconditional love. The Bob Marley and the Wailers legend lives on; his music remains as essential as ever.  


  1. White, Timothy. “Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley”. New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2006.
  2. Davis, Stephen. “Bob Marley: A Biography”. Greenwood Biographies. Greenwood Press, 2007.
  3. King, Stephen A. “Reggae, Rastafari, and the Rhetoric of Social Control”. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2002.

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