Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Age affects values?

The individualism constantly displayed in Beowulf reminds me of Eomer’s battle with Ugluk. I remember from LOTR that Eomer actually dismounted his horse and fought Ugluk one-on-one. I also think it is interesting that Eomer is young. By contrast, I cannot think of one time where Aragorn (older royalty) decides to fight alone unless he absolutely has to. The only time I recall Aragorn fighting somewhat alone is against the black riders at WhetherTop, but it is not like he had an army behind him (as Eomer did). It was brought up in class that Beowulf seems individualistic as a youth and then more open to collaboration in his attempt to protect his people in his older age. I feel like Beowulf fighting Grendel and Eomer fighting Ugluk alone (despite having armies to aid them) shows that pride and glory are important for younger men to have in these warrior societies (in both LOTR and Beowulf). As Beowulf gets older (and wiser) he becomes more similar to Aragorn. Despite the fact that they both make kingly transformations, I think that the older Beowulf and Aragorn are more open to working with others if it means a better chance to protect their people (or the world in LOTR). Instead of hard-earned glory and pride, it is more important for the success of their people (or good in LOTR). Youth = acting on pride? Age = Wisdom = collaboration overpowering pride?

3 comments:

Thengel said...

Although Eomer is a warrior and comes from a family of warriors and leaders, you're right in pointing out the fact that he is still young and can act brashly, especially in the heat of battle. Aragorn has a longer life span due to his Numenorean blood, so he is actually far older and more experienced at the time of the War of the Ring. He has had years worth of battle experience. I get the sense that although Beowulf is a great fighter, he is mostly renowned at the beginning of the poem for individual feats rather than experience in an army. Because of his pride, individualism, and youth, he always seeks to fight alone, even in the moments when an army could have saved him. In Anglo-Saxon culture, young men often sought to outdo each other with feats of strength and bravery, and pride and glory were ingrained in the culture. I really like the way you found echoes of this in LOTR.

Aredhel said...

This is great insight! I'd completely forgotten Eomer's battle with Ugluk, but you found an awesome parallel to Beowulf. Like in class we talked about how younger warriors search for personal glory and older warriors search for victory in the smarter ways. I wonder if maybe one of the reasons for younger warriors like Beowulf (in the beginning) and Eomer fighting more 1 v. 1 could be the desire to prove themselves. And then older warriors, having already proved themselves, make better and smarter decisions. Or maybe it really is just that with age comes wisdom, and they recognize the brilliance in using the help of others!

Idril said...

The connections made between Aragorn and Beowulf in this post are incredible. The comparison between young Beowulf and Eomer is spot on and really emphasizes how the youthful often act and make decisions based on their pride. The pursuit of glory is evident between both as well.

I cannot think of time Aragorn fights alone either... this translates perfectly into the saying "with age comes wisdom." Because of his wisdom, Aragorn avoids acting brashly and risking his own life in combat.