The legendary hero Beowulf had great -- sometimes superhuman -- physical strength, incredible bravery and confidence, and he was protected by special armor and weapons. He was also accompanied by a loyal friend, Wiglaf, who assisted him when he needed help defeating the dragon. A hero had to have courage, strength, and the will to overcome obstacles. He had to be a good leader and a father figure to his followers. He would be merciless to enemies but show mercy to the weak. Sometimes he would act with great altruism, that is, on behalf of others without regard for self or self-interest.
Can you recognize this group of qualities in more recent figures? We tell stories about national heroes of the American frontier and the American Revolution, such as George Washington, Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. We have heroes of modern political struggles, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. The Nobel awards recognize amazing achievements in the sciences, arts, and humanitarian work. Many very real, very un-mythical people have become legends because we love to hear and to repeat their unique stories.
Are there "legends" in sports and entertainment who might also qualify as heroes? Does your school or town have a local hero? Who is a national or international hero? Do you know someone whom you consider an unrecognized hero?
In an essay, compare and contrast Beowulf with a hero from popular culture…