Heroism and Arguments Homework

Heroism and Arguments

How is heroism defined in Germanic Pagan culture? To answer this question, you should consider the heroic qualities defined in Beowulf and Beowulf’s understanding of heroism. Formulate an argument using the structure learned in class (see notes on Moodle). Your answer should include at least two concrete examples from Beowulf. Use the structure learned in class to reference specific scenes from the text.

(300-400 words)

PART 2:

Your response should be focused on a single main argument.

Answer any of these questions. You may answer more than one, but you should have a single main argument:

How has the definition of hero changed in the twenty-first century?

What qualities are necessary to be a hero?

Does everyone have the potential to be a hero?

Is the concept of heroism helpful or harmful? Does heroism inspire action or does the myth of the single-handed hero simply create bystanders?

Are the heroes in stories such as “Hercules”, “The Two Swords”, and “The Ballad of Mulan” still relevant today? Why or why not?

Many scholars have argued that our views of heroes and heroism are based on gender biases. In her article “When the Hero is the Problem”, Rebecca Solnit argues that the “virtues [most often associated with heroism] are those traditionally considered feminine rather than masculine”. She says this is true regardless of the hero’s gender. As we discussed in class, Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey has also been criticized for its gender bias (look at the descriptions of the steps and archetypes in the two versions of the hero’s journey we looked at). In response to these criticisms, Campbell said: “Women don’t need to make the journey. In the whole mythological journey, the woman is there. All she has to do is realize that she’s the place that people are trying to get to.” Consider how the hero stories that are told, or the way they are told, is influenced by gender bias. How might hero stories better reflect gender diversity? What would such a story look like? Do these stories exist?

Answer any of these questions. You may answer more than one, but you should have a single main argument:

Why are trickster stories compelling (in other words, why do you think so many cultures tell stories about trickster characters?)?

How do tricksters challenge or subvert the concept of heroism?

Are tricksters useful or harmful (or both) in society today? Consider the trickster’s role as an agent of chaos.

If you choose option 3, your response should consider at least one of the trickster stories we have studied. Apart from your examples from the stories, you may use an example of real-life agents of chaos (see lecture slides for examples) or trickster stories from the Crash Course Mythology videos.

A question of your choosing. However, it must be approved by me at least one week before the assignment is due.

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