George Bush, president of the United States of America, is a very great and powerful figure in our country. Although he is not physically strong like the hero in the folk epic Beowulf, he has the same authority and state of mind. Beowulf and George Bush are both recognized as heroes, along with this recognition, sadly, comes judgment and possible disapproval of a society. On September 11th 2003, the world was in complete chaos. Everyone was hoping and seeking to find some type of comfort to get us through this tragedy.
This situation can be compared to the Danes the morning after Grendel attacked their warriors. The author describes this by stating, At daybreak, with the suns first light, they saw/ How well he had worked, and in that gray morning/ Broke their long feast with tears and laments/ For the dead (41-44). The Danes and the Americans both went through feelings of helplessness, they both saw there worlds fall to pieces. They both were looking for a way to help cope in stressful times. Both of these nations eventually find the heroes that they are looking for.
The Danes are vulnerable and looking for basically anyone to help them. The Danes are so desperate that when an outsider comes to help them out with their problem, the Danes, after little questioning, are more then willing to accept a Geaten man named Beowulf as their hero. Americans, on the other hand, have a man in their own nation that acts as their modern day Beowulf. Americas hero is President George Bush. These men step up, take on roles as protectors of these countries, and help the countries get through their dreary trials.
Having a heroic figure in the Danes and Americans lives during painful times, help comfort the people and help overcome the tragedy that has occurred. George Bush and Beowulf give the Americans and the Danes the motivation to recuperate and become a successful strong country again. Society accepts heroes when they are in a time of need with little or no judgment, until they no longer need help. Beowulf and George Bush display their heroic qualities by not only helping the countries recuperate from their enemies, but also they take action to avenge these countries and make sure nothing like this ever happens to these countries again.
Beowulf does this by killing the enemy. Beowulf states,Perhaps/ Hrothgar can hunt, here in my heart,/ For some way to drive this devil out-/ If anything will ever end the evils/ Afflicting your wise and famous lord. / Here he can cool his burning his sorrow (173-78). Beowulf exhibits a heroic quality when he states that he wants the Danes to have peace and the only way for the Danes and the Danish king to have peace is to demolish their enemy. George Bush portrays this same quality by taking immediate action against the Americans enemy.
In the beginning of both of these ominous situations, George Bush and Beowulf have no selfish intentions, all they want to do, as any true hero would do, is to avenge and protect the people with no personal motivation. Even then the society thinks its odd that heroes want nothing in return, they think its impossible for a man to have an altruistic characteristic like this. The society usually disapproves because they think the hero has some hidden motives. Heroes are found everywhere fighting their own enemies each and everyday.
True heroes however, are hard to find. A true hero consists of not only stopping the enemy, but also deleting the enemies allies and preventing anymore tragedy. Beowulf proves himself to be a true hero, not only when he destroys the Danes main enemy, but also when he destroys the enemys ally, which in this story is the enemys mother. The author describes this scene by stating, And then, savage, now, angry/ And desperate, lifted it high over his head/ And struck with all the strength he had left,/ Caught her in the neck and cut it through,/Broke bones and all.
Her body fell/ To the floor, lifeless, the sword was wet/ With her blood, and Beowulf rejoiced at the sight(492-97). This segment describes how much Beowulf wants to kill the enemy, the allies, and make sure the Danes are safe. George Bush also proves himself to be a true hero. He didnt stop with just taking action against the main enemy, but proceeds to take action against all of the enemys allies and make sure these countries did nothing against America or help the enemy in any way.
Both George Bush and Beowulf prove themselves to be true heroes by completing the job of getting rid of the enemy and their associates. People often have mixed feelings about extinguishing the enemys allies. Some think its necessary to somewhat punish the allies and others think its wrong and judge the heroes for doing anything against the allies. Beowulf and George Bush are definitely heroes. They seem to have all these supernatural abilities to overcome enemies and dreadful situations, but really these heroes are just powerful men with characteristics of a hero.
When they first start fighting Beowulf and George Bush only have the best of intentions in mind, but by the end of the battles they both have somewhat ulterior motives. They both show their human side by wanting material objects. Beowulf went to fight a dragon not only for the peoples protection, but also for fame and riches. Beowulf lets the reader know his motives have slightly changed by stating, And this dragons treasure, his gold/And everything hidden in that tower, will be mine/ Or war will sweep me to a bitter death(667-69). He states that he wants the enemies riches when before he just left them.
George Bush has the same thinking, he does everything to protect the Americans, but in the end there is possibility of gaining gas from the enemy country. George Bush never states that he wants this material gain, but he also never spoke of it negatively. This could be because he wants to fight for protection and material gain. The people judge them for wanting these things, but really it is just showing their human side. Society has a hard time accepting the fact that courageous men are still humans, and that they are not perfect.
No matter how often people actually find heroes and how many good deeds these heroes do for the people, the people only support them and accept them when things are going good and there is no question of defeat. If it looks like the hero is going to experience defeat, the people will flee and want no part with that so called hero. This is exactly what happens to Beowulf and to some degree George Bush. At the battle with Grendels mother the Danes give up on Beowulf, leaving only the Geats waiting for their leader.
Not only do the Danes prove how faithful they are to Beowulf by leaving, but also, when they get back to the hall, they mourn their hero by drinking. The author explains, The Danes gave up, left/The lake and went home, Hrothgar with them. / The Geats stayed, sat sadly, watching,/ Imagining they saw their lord but not believing/ They would ever see him again(529-33). This describes the Danes when they leave their hero. Then the author goes on to describe what the Danes do after they left. He carried that terrible trophy by the hair,/ Brought it straight to where the Danes sat,/ Drinking, the queen among them (576-78).
This part in the story makes it evident that society really doesnt care about the heroes; they only want to use them for protection. The same thing happens to George Bush. He acts very rationally and bravely during the bombing on September eleventh, the terrorists attacks, and distributing the Amber Alert system. All George Bushs actions in all of those situations are excellent, but the moment he does something questionable, whether the decision turns out to be good or bad, the Americans judge him and most likely remember him by the few things that turn out to be bad.
This reaction of the people is a very probable reason why there are not more evident heroes in the world. These people think, why should they put their lives at risk to protect people or stand up for something, when their only reward is unfaithful supporters who will only remember the heroes few bad actions and forget the good ones. Heroes would start popping up everywhere if society would just care and accept them rather than judging them and giving them a hard time. George Bush and Beowulf are both very courageous heroes.
Even though one is fictional and written practically over a hundred years ago, and the other is still alive and ruling today, they are both accepted by the nations when they needed them and judged and unsupported when they had finished a good deed and no longer needed. Even though people need heroes, they are somewhat jealous that they cannot fend for themselves or be that hero themselves; therefore society feels that they must judge, ridicule, and disapprove of those who help them the most, such as great heroes like Beowulf and George Bush.