Archetype Paper-Loyal Retainers Made Heroes compared between Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings, and current leaders in today's society

Essay by jcrewnrgHigh School, 11th grade March 2004

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"The best servant does his work unseen," stated by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. in The Poet at the Breakfast Table, strongly epitomizes the significance of people that transcends in their roles as being a servant to assist in another's greater cause. Their heroism usually goes unnoticed until the greatest times of need, and their role becomes the defining moment of a great victory. Through all facets of literature, film, life and its experiences, archetypes of loyal retainers appear as underlying roles of a greater picture. From the literary piece Beowulf to the box office hit The Lord of the Rings to even the current leaders of today's society, archetypes of loyal retainers portray similar comparisons to each other based on a model that their heroism is revealed through the bravery and loyalty they provide the hero at their greatest time of need.

In the epic poem Beowulf, translated by Burten Raffel, Wiglaf embodies the role of the loyal retainer by standing next to his lord and assisting Beowulf in his final battle for the pride of his legacy and the glory of winning.

During the critical battle between Beowulf and the dragon, Wiglaf, one of eleven thanes chosen for this deadly adventure, proves to be Beowulf's one and only loyal retainer as he tries to convince the other ten comrades to risk their lives to save their king. "Go to him, while angry flames burn at his flesh, help our glorious king," states Wiglaf as he reminds all of the warriors of their loyalty for the king in his greatest time of need, but instead Wiglaf was the only one willing to honor his word (105). The second portrayal of Wiglaf's role as the loyal retainer comes during the fight with the dragon "when Beowulf needs him most, Wiglaf shows...