Dare-Devil or Hero?
In Beowulf and the movie “Top Gun” a hero is born by his arrogance and dare-devil like attitude. A man’s arrogance can sometimes bring other positive qualities such as determination and aggressiveness, which can help him succeed in life. A dare-devil who will try to reach the outer limits and in doing so, either stupidly fail or succeed in glory. But a thick line has to be drawn somewhere to distinguish whether or not a man is just acting foolishly, or provides examples of true heroism. The haughty attitudes of Beowulf and Maverick helps establish confidence in their fighting skills which helps them succeed in defeating the enemy.
Beowulf’s defeat of his enemies allows his peers to tolerate his arrogance for it shows he can support his vows to his people. He becomes a hero in the eyes of many when he defeats the enemy and fulfills every word he said in his great speeches. The comments he makes to Hrothgar can sound to some as somewhat cocky or truly courageous depending on the outcome of the battle. Beowulf’s speech to Hrothgar depicts an arrogant warrior who seems to think he is unbreakable. “I therefore decline, that Hygelac my lord may be pleased to the heart, to take any sword or broad-braced shield, yellow war-wood, into this combat, but with my own hand grip I will meet this enemy and fight for life, foe against foe”(75). Hard words to fulfill, but a man such as Beowulf did by his dare-devil actions and was announced a hero. If Beowulf had not taken down Grendel his people would find him to be more stupid than courageous. A man who goes into battle with such a strong beot must be ready to fulfill it with great dignity and fighting. Beowulf fulfilled his beot to the fullest and from that he was born a true hero.
In Top Gun, Maverick unsafe and arrogant when flying becomes a hero but with the honor comes the great loss of his bestfriend. His cocky attitude and crazy tactics in flight makes his teammates feel unsafe in the sky. Maverick a very arrogant fighter pilot thinks that he can beat anyone in a dog fight. In this conversation between the Top Gun Director and Maverick they discuss the plaque of the great fighter pilots on the wall and we see a cocky attitude from Maverick:
MAVERICK : (musing to himself)…Just wondering…(turns back) …who is the best.
VIPER : Really… (smiles)Ya know. We’d like to know who’s best too. That’s why we’ve got that plaque on the wall… with the Top Top Gun crew from each class. You think maybe your name’s gonna be on it?
*Maverick knows he’s in trouble, considers the social alternatives, then tells him the truth.*
MAVERICK : Yes sir.
*A couple of ooo’s and aahh’s from the guys. The instructors stare the challenge at him. He slides lower in his seat.*
VIPER: Considering the company you’re in, that’s a pretty arrogant attitude.
MAVERICK : (somewhat chastised) Yes sir.
VIPER: I like that in a fighter pilot. (couple of laughs from the guys) It’s okay to be confident. You have to think you’re King Kong to want to try to land on carriers. Just keep in mind the other component of success…teamwork.
Even though some might think that what Maverick said in this conversation was cocky he received respect from the director. Sometimes stepping over social boundaries is necessary to reach your goals. But sometimes his self-pride held him responsible for his actions and in one instance his wingman and best friend dies. Still, Maverick becomes a hero when he is called to go fight in the Pacific. Not many trusted Maverick to be a back-up pilot for the dog fight but they did not realize his skill until he saved their lives. With a unbelievable and crazy tactic Maverick was able to shoot down three Migs and win the dog fight. Though dangerous and unsafe sometimes, Maverick could be relied on by his fellow pilots to cover them in any dogfight. A hero is defined a hero in the eyes of society not solely by his actions but by how he puts his words he promises into action.
Both Beowulf and Maverick have arrogant attitudes that can be tolerated because it is for the good of their people. Depending on whether the results of a person’s attitude are good or bad, that person will be harshly criticized or gloriously praised. Both men realize the special qualities they have and know that they can make an impact in tough battles. Yet their instinctual actions could have got them killed at moments they always seem to pull threw with great glory and defeat the enemy. A hero cannot be perfect in every aspect of life but has traits that allow him to be the unique person he is. In the Anglo-Saxon period we see stories that try to depict a hero to perfection. Yet in modern-day news, we see heroes such as students, children, and even senior citizens. Dare-Devil or not, today if you take extreme risks to accomplish a task society will praise you for it.
Top Gun Movie