Essay on The Presidential Medal Of Freedom By Arthur Ashe

1894 Words Apr 5th, 2016 8 Pages
Arthur Ashe, a winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, once said that “true heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” There is a sharp contrast between these words and the aggressive depictions of so-called heroism that abound in popular media. Take a look around you- from movie posters to book covers, images of heroism defined as synonymous to violent masculinity prevail. In Ashe’s eyes, to be heroic is to be empathetic and caring, willing to put others before yourself. Unfortunately, the popular depiction of heroism is less focused on morals and intent, and more on strength and results. This incorrect representation of heroes has been around for centuries. “Beowulf,” an epic poem that has also been made into an animated movie by the same name, is a story about a Geat Warrior from around 1000 CE and the battles he fights throughout his life. Though “Beowulf” is often regarded as an important literary work, it is centered around a definition of heroism dependant on strength and masculinity rather than empathy and a desire to help others. In the story, Beowulf is honored not for his intentions, but for his physical strength alone. This is particularly emphasized when he allows a man to die before he attacks Grendel, proving that the battles he fights are motivated by pride and not empathy. Finally, he takes pleasure in hurting his adversaries, proving that there…

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