Byrhttoh Hero Analysis

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Byrhtnoth’s Ofermod: An Act of Heroism
A magnificent variety of noble characteristics were portrayed in Old English literature as examples of Anglo-Saxon spirits. Despites that all national heroes are extraordinarily distinctive, one universal trait was shared in all individuals: The Ofermod, or Pride, a dignified sense of one’s identity. For example, In the Battle of Maldon, the orally transmitted poetry that illustrated the grand battle led by English earl Byrhtnoth against invasion of Viking raiders, the tragic hero Byrhtnoth was portrayed to represent the ideal definition of Anglo-Saxon heroism with both his self-dignity and national pride.
Since the practice of vocabulary is recognized as a versatile yet argumentative philosophy in literature
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The heroes are viewed as the guardians of the territory, citizens, and the treasure. Therefore, when facing such a quandary, Byrhtnoth determines to defend his homeland and national treasure with the potential price of sacrificing lives of his warriors as well as his own. Such a behavior strongly reflected on his heroic spirit with his reckless resolution of protecting the Anglo-Saxon honor. In the contrary, Byrhtnoth would be considered as sensible if her balances between the loss and gains, and decides to trade the national integrity for survival. Simultaneously, however, he would be considered as same as Godrich, a coward with no sense of honor. The pride of patriotism was valued as priceless and cannot be profaned, therefore, when it comes to decision making, there’s no compromises that should be made. By taking pride in his identity and refuse to surrender without striking back, Byrhtnoth manifests his heroic …show more content…
After granting permission to the enemy, Byrhtnoth calls the invaders to “come quickly” and to confront the war of men that only “God alone can tell who at the end may hold this battlefield” (l. 101-104). From there, a sense of predestination is displayed through the line: as “the battle with its glory drew near. /the time had come for fated men to perish in that place” (l. 95-96). Byrhtnoth seems to put his faith under God’s justice: that if the Anglo-Saxons shall fall, then they shall die with honor. Therefore, he demands not to take advantage on the landform, and have a fair engagement with the foe. Again, it might not be the most calculative decision to make, yet, if Byrhtnoth speculates to attack the Vikings while they are in a disadvantaged position, he would be praised as a witty opportunist, not a hero. Byrhtnoth’s action is not a misjudgment caused by his vanity or superciliousness, but a reflection on his pursuit of equity and justice. Such trait has been demonstrated as a positive shine in different heroic characters in English literature. For example, in the Epic Beowulf, during the duel between Beowulf and Grendel, Beowulf decides to attack the monster with no aids of weapons. He “count[s] [him] self as dangerous any day as Grendel” (Beowulf, l. 677) and since Grendel “has no idea of the arts of war, or shield or sword-play”, Beowulf swears to be unarmed when

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