Beowulf And Ideal Man The epic Beowulf shows us how a mans character is tested as he encounters difficult situations. The unknown author of Beowulf, leaves behind a mystique, an intriguing quality with which the character which hold our interest. The modern-day hero, Superman, also possesses these same qualities. Their modest actions are what helped these heros to become their peoples “ideal man.” The first quality that earns a persons respect between Beowulf and Superman is wealth. Neither of these men had a considerable amount of money.
This helps the every day man relate to them more easily. In the epic, Beowulfs home is far away from his lords castle. We get the sense that Beowulf is an outcast because of the lengthy distance to reach his kingdom. In stories such as these, the outcasts are perceived to be the poorer of the people in the kingdom. Like Beowulf, Superman lives in seclusion from the society in which he lives. He apartment is purposely set on the opposite side of town from everyone he works with.
In relation to the common mans life-style, we can easily assume that Superman does not make much money. This fact is defined by Supermans day job as a reporter for the city of Metropolis. The “ideal man” of past and present has to posses the quality of intelligence. Beowulf shows great intelligence in his approach towards his battles. In his battle with Grendel, Beowulf uses a soldier for a decoy to expose Grendels strengths: Grendel snatched at the first Geat He came to, ripped him apart, cut His body to bits with powerful jaws, Drank the blood from his veins and bolted Him down, hands and feet; death And Grendels great teeth came together, Snapping life shut.
The he stepped to another Still body, clutched at Beowulf with his claws, Grasped at a strong-hearted wakeful sleeper -And was instantly seized himself. .(Raffel 314-323). This passage shows us how Beowulfs planning ahead led him to victory. By exposing the monsters strengths as well as his tactics, Beowulf was able to counter-attack the monster and win. The second time when Beowulf shows us his intelligence is when he goes fights Grendels mother: She welcomed him in her claws. Clutched at him savagely but could not harm him.
Tried to work her fingers through the tight Ring-woven mail on his breast, but tore And scratched in vain. . .(Raffel 475-479). Although his armor did not ultimately stop her, it slowed her down and gave Beowulf time to overcome her. For Superman, his intelligence comes from experience. Because of his daily duty of “protector of the Earth,” Superman reacts instantly to the problems he faces.
When he fights enemies, Superman tries to have the fight on his terms. He lures the criminals out of the cities, away from the people. If thats not possible he takes care of business in a quick and orderly fashion. He does this by keeping the innocent bystander out of the way. The quality that is the most overwhelming of all is Beowulfs and Supermans superhuman attributes.
“For hours he sank through the waves” (Beowulf 469). Here Beowulf is swimming down to fight Grendels mother. Being underwater for so long makes him supernatural. An ordinary human cant hold their breath for more then a minute, let alone a few hours. Superman has many superhuman qualities. He has ex-ray vision which lets him see through wall and other things so he can see what is going on. He has inferred eye sight with which he is able to melt objects with.
Lastly, Superman has the ability to fly. This quality by itself is what gives him the most admiration by the people. Seeing a person fly is a great experience for the people of Metropolis. Not all heroes can “fly faster than a speeding bullet,” but each hero can share similar characteristics through the eyes of the perceiver. There is an expectation of what a hero is supposed to be. Thus, by comparing and contrasting Superman and Beowulfs traits, we can attribute their qualities to the “ideal man.” There will be obstacles to face, but a hero will overcome the challenges as demonstrated by Superman and Beowulf.
We all hold in our heart the ability to become a “hero” or the”ideal man.”.