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King Arthur And Beowulf
Numerous stories about numerous heroes have been told and then retold. All of
these heroes do different things and all of them have a different set of
qualities which make them heroes. Due to the fact that there are only so many
heroic adventures and qualities, most are shared in part with at least one other
hero. Such is the case between the great hero, Beowulf, from the epic poem
Beowulf and King Arthur from the story of Morte dArthur. These great heroes
have strong similarities and a great deal of differences. Once their
similarities have been compared and then dismissed it is evident that Beowulf is
the greater hero of the two. True heroes do good things for good people. Such is
the case in Beowulf, Beowulf leaves his homeland to help the Danish people rid
themselves of the human eating monster, Grendel. This heroic quality is also
evident in Morte d'Arthur, as Arthur consciously rides into a battle in order to
rid his people of an evil knight who would not allow others to pass. Both heroes
are displaying their concern for others by risking themselves in battle for the
greater good. In the same aspect they are also striving for love and respect
from the people they protect. In order to obtain maximum respect per battle,
both Beowulf and Arthur enter into battle somewhat alone. Beowulf specifically
asks, That [he], alone and with the help of [his] men, / May purge all evil
from [the] hall (Beowulf, line 165-166). His request is granted by Hrothgar,
King of the Danes, so he and his man enter into the battle themselves and when
Grendel is defeated, the glory, love and respect belong solely to Beowulf and
his men. Arthur does the same, he met with his man and his horse, and so
mounted up and dressed his shield and took his spear, and bade his chamberlain
tarry there till he came again (Morte dArthur paragraph 20). Although
Arthur begins his journey alone he does meet up with Merlin, the court magician
and faithful companion, who accompanies him. Much like Beowulf, Arthur gains
great respect and praise from all men of worship by fighting alone, even though
it is not necessarily the smartest thing to do. The characteristic of being
fearless when faced with death is often a trait of heroes because it is
associated with courage and strength. King Arthur and Beowulf are not afraid to
die, thus showing their courage to their adversaries and peers. When Arthur is
faced with death he declares, welcome be it when it cometh, but to yield me
unto thee as [cowardly] I had liefer die than to be so shamed. (Morte
dArthur, paragraph 34). Simply put he would rather die than admit to defeat
and being cowardly. Beowulf feels much the same way about death. He illustrates
this by showing no fear for his own life but instead expressing concern for the
honor of King Higlac by asking that, if death does take [him], send the
hammered / Mail of [his] armor to Higlac (Beowulf, line 186-187). In sending
his King his armor it recommits himself to his country and lets his King be
reminded of his bravery every time he looks upon it. That is the extent to which
Beowulf and King Arthur are similar. Beowulf has way more confidence in his
fighting ability then Arthur has in his. This is evident in the fact that
Beowulf fights Grendel unarmed, he says my hands / Alone shall fight for me,
struggle for life (Beowulf, line 172-173). His reasoning behind this is that
Grendels, scorn of men / Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears
none [so] / Nor will [he] (Beowulf, line 167-169). By facing Grendel unarmed
to shows that he is brave and more importantly unafraid to be equal to Grendel.
Since Grendel is going to fight without the use of weapons, Beowulf creates
equality and therefore more respect upon himself by doing the same. Were as the
much less confident Arthur fights only with weapons and once his wounds were
amended his first thought was, I have no sword (Morte dArthur,
paragraph 41) followed by the task of finding him a sword. This demonstrates
Arthurs weakness in his dependence of weapons and thus Beowulfs greatness
in comparison. Beowulf is indeed the greater hero as the help he received from
his men was useless, not by fault of his men but by the simple fact that Grendel,
had bewitched all ... more
Find essay on Afraid Of Him
Buddhism And Death
Does Anything Survive Death? The Buddha, already enlightened and therefore
having reached the state of Nirvana, taught and explained many concepts and
principles to his students. He was released from the life cycle, which every
individual should seek to escape. He said that in order to be released from the
torture of reincarnation, one must cease to desire, for it is the failure to
fulfill ones desires that causes ones misery. He also explained that
possessions and material things are all a delusion. Since people are not born
with belongings and do not die with them, they are not really belongings, but
only burdens. Even the body itself is not owned by the mind inhabiting it,
because it dies and decomposes as the soul goes on. The body could be looked at
as the prison of illness, because there is a very fine line between health and
sickness. The mind however is eternal, with thoughts and feelings. In modern
society, the mind is not developed; it is polluted and requires training. Once
one attains control of the mind, one also attains control of the body and
speech. Then, the truth will become apparent. What becomes apparent is ones
true essence. Ones true essence is Buddha: everyone has the potential to
become Buddha. In the present state of ignorance, however, people have developed
a false sense of self. According to the teachings of the Buddha, the idea of
self is an imaginary, false belief which has no corresponding reality, and it
produces harmful thoughts of me and mine, selfish desire, craving,
attachment, pride, egoism, and other defilements, impurities, and
problems(Seven Dilemmas in World Religion) It is these unconscious
assumptions and false information about reality that cause people to become
selfish and self centered, therefore neglecting the fact that all people are
actually pure energy and pure awareness. People need to realize that they are
living in a state of constant mental evolution and should focus on achieving
egolessness. With the withdrawal from the normal concerns of worldly existence
and the elimination of I comes enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal
of every Buddhist. Buddhists believe there is no life and no death, however,
there is duality. When the body dies, the mind goes on. Consciousness, which is
always enlightenment, also survives the physical death. Everything is an
illusion and is going to disappear, whereas impermanence is reality. Ones
true identity is Buddha. Buddha is a state of mind that has no obscuration of
the truth. Buddhists tend to visualize the process of reincarnation, or the
life cycle itself as either a river or an ocean of birth and death. This river
is the unexplored aspect of life, which needs to be crossed in order to reach
the incomparably wonderful(The Hungry Tigress) enlightenment. The Buddha
is the vehicle by which this river is crossed. It transports one from dukkha, or
suffering to the other side endowed with hundreds of virtues, full of such
qualities as trance and wisdom, immaculate, free from all substrata, changeless
and without sorrow.(The Hungry Tigress) Since Buddhism stemmed from
Hinduism, the beliefs of the two religions concerning the cycle of life and
death are very similar. Hindus also look at the cycle of samsara as a river.
Hindus believe that when one reaches the river, one admits that there are some
things that are not yet understood. In contrast, a Buddhist says, we dare to
go where others do not go, upon reaching the river. Buddhists believe that it
is where people are afraid to go, is what suffering comes from. People are the
cause of their own suffering; however, they can control and manipulate their
karma. Hindus, on the other hand, accept karma as a given. Since it is both good
and bad karma that determines the quality of the next incarnation, this is an
important difference in the two belief systems. However, both Buddhists and
Hindus agree on the belief that the last thought at the moment of death
determines the character of the next incarnation. Buddhists and Hindus agree
that individuals who have lived virtuous lives will achieve Nirvana and
individuals who have developed a karmic pull will be drawn again to rebirth. An
opposite perspective on life and death can be found in Christianity as in most
other western religions. The belief in God as a creator and maintainer of human
life does not allow for reincarnation. Since God is also a judge, He is the one
who looks at ones good and bad deeds and judges accordingly. With the
possibility of ... more
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