The classic hero possesses strength, ethics; and, above all, fights evil. This model applied in the time of Beowulf and still applies today, only slightly modified. As a result of such innovations as television and fashion magazines, society has come to value physical attractiveness and sexual prowess, as evident in the example of Batman, a modern day hero. In addition, humility has become a desired quality in modern times, whereas self-confidence to the point of arrogance was a favorable attribute in the time of Beowulf. Despite the differences, similarities between the Anglo-Saxon hero and modern day hero can be seen through the comparison of Beowulf and Batman.
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Beowulf and Batman both possess the heroic quality of strength. Beowulf swims for seven day and fights nine sea-monsters, a feat that most men cannot accomplish. He demonstrates his strength again in the battle with Grendel. Beowulf tears off Grendel?s arms using his bare hands. Batman also has the classic heroic quality of strength. Batman single-handedly fights gangs of criminals on numerous occasions in the movie ?Batman,? showing not only muscular strength, but endurance, much like that of Beowulf. Batman echoes the heroic strength of Beowulf.
Batman and Beowulf also have strong codes of ethics. Batman often releases criminals after a fight instead of killing them. The criminals were not an immediate life threat, so Batman did not feel it was right to kill them. His code of ethics does not allow for murder, therefore Batman kills only when absolutely necessary. Beowulf reveals his adhesion to a code of ethics in his argument with Unferth. Beowulf condemns Unferth, saying ?You murdered your brothers, your own close kin. Words and bright wit won?t help your soul; you?ll suffer hell?s fires, Unferth, forever tormented.? Batman and Beowulf share the same code of ethics: one that condemns murder. The heroes are true to their ethics and only kill when absolutely necessary.
Another heroic quality shared by Batman and Beowulf is their commitment to fighting evil. When a villain attacks innocent citizens, the hero is there to protect them and fight the attacker. Beowulf protects herot, traveling from Geatland to aid King Hrothgar and fight Grendel. After the battle with Grendel, Beowulf remains to kill Grendel?s mother. Beowulf knows that as a hero, he must protect these people, even if they are not his people. Batman also knows he must fight evil in Gotham City, although he perceives no personal threat. Batman battles criminals on city streets and ultimately fights and destroys the Joker. These enemies do not pose a threat to Batman himself, but he fights them to save the people of Gotham City. Both Batman and Beowulf wear this heroic responsibility to fight evil well.