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The definition of a hero is someone who is recognized for their endless acts of bravery, selflessness, courage and strength in character. Ask a young child who they recognize as heroes in their life and common responses are usually moms, cops, firefighters, etc. Throughout this essay the reader will see a compare and contrast between Beowulf and Lyndon B. Johnson. One hero did it because he loved the people, and the other did it for self fame and glory. Many people seem to believe that a hero is someone who is seen on the news everyday or someone who is recognized worldwide. Lyndon B. Johnson, wasn’t that type of hero. He was a man who made the right decisions throughout his life and presidency. Johnson was a man who gave others, especially African Americans and those who suffered from poverty, a second chance at life.
Johnson was a huge advocate for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act allowed African American men the right to vote. He helped end discrimination against African American men when voting. He helped paved the way for future generations of minorities and gave them a voice. Johnson along with many other activists fought and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Which not only did Johnson pass the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he also helped many Americans in finding a way to deal with poverty. Johnson developed two major programs that are still highly used in the US today. He developed both medicare and medicaid. Medicaid: is a program that helps people without a lot of money pay for healthcare. Medicare: is a system that gives health insurance to those over the age of 65 and certain younger people with disabilities. With these two programs, Johnson gave less fortunate Americans a sense of hope. Altogether all of these acts were key components of the “Great Society”. LBJ was so dedicated to the great society and passing bills through legislation that he would even ignore his own health and even his family.
Beowulf, the hero of the story travels from his kingdom to the kingdom of Denmark. He comes to save them from the local monster, Grendel, who has been terrorizing them for twelve years now. “Twelve winters of grief for Hrothgar, king/ Of the Danes, sorrow heaped at his door/ By hell-forged hands, His misery leaped/ The seas, was told and sung in all/ Men’s ears”(147-151). Beowulf felt a need to give the man, Hrothgar, who he owed a family debt, a peaceful life. He wanted to restore peace back to Denmark. Furthermore, Beowulf’s purpose was to “Go big or go home”, meaning he was more than willing to put his life at risk(bravery and courage) in order to restore the peace that was taken away by Grendel. When we crossed the sea, my comrades/ And I, I already knew that all/ My purpose was this: to win the good will/ Of your people or die in battle, pressed/ In Grendel’s fierce grip.
Let me live in greatness/ And courage, or here in this hall welcome/ My death!”(632-638). Beowulf is not portrayed as man who runs away from death and any battle. He takes them both by the horn and always manages to get through it. He is very courageous. Although Beowulf is idolized as a heroic figure, he shows his conceited nature by seeking glory only for himself and not giving credit to those who have aided him in battle. “No one has else could do what I mean to, here, no man but me could help to defeat this monster. ”(682-686). Beowulf is holding himself higher than those around him, thus bringing glory to his name.
Beowulf may possess all the qualities of an Anglo-Saxon hero but he is nowhere like modern day heroes. A hero, like Beowulf, not only needs to be physically outstanding, he also needs to have integrity, moral values, and needs to be able to act without thinking of his own benefit. Which is something Beowulf can not do. Even when he decapitated the already dead Grendel he felt the need to provide visible proof and it would add more fuel to his arsenal of boasts. Unlike Beowulf, Johnson did everything out of the kindness of his heart. He wanted the world to be filled with less hate, and did everything for the benefit of others. In conclusion, we admire a person who strives for a peaceful environment, someone who does so without hurting others. Today we look for someone who is willing to calmly solve problems. Nobleness and honor are not associated with war. Both Beowulf and LBJ free their people from something that has brought darkness upon them for many years, but their intentions are different. One seeks fame and glory, the other seeks freedom and shows his humbleness.
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