About Modern Heroes
The essay must be 3 (full) to 5 pages long, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font. It will be one of your tasks to find a focused, arguable (both contestable and defensible) thesis statement that is based on a topic addressed in one of the prompts below.
You are not expected to use any other sources besides the Inferno and Beowulf (this especially includes summaries or online analyses). You may, however, use online searchable versions of the texts in order to find supporting quotes–only if you then use the translation used in class to type out those quotes (Do not cut and paste from a different translation). Use parenthetical citation according to MLA format, noting line numbers for Beowulf, and canto and line numbers for the Inferno. Choose short, pithy quotes to make your point rather than long summative passages. Analyze; do not summarize. Assume the reader of your essay has already read the texts and doesn’t need to know what happens next in any particular passage. Instead, your task is to convince your reader of a certain interpretation of the text.
Regardless of the prompt you choose, you must mention and quote both Beowulf and Dante, but you may organize your essay in such a way that you devote more space to analyzing one over the other. The space you devote to each character must take up at least 1/3 of your essay.
Remember to distinguish between Beowulf the hero and Beowulf the poem by using italics correctly. Also, remember to distinguish between Dante the Poet and Dante the Pilgrim in your essay.
Choose 1 of the following prompts to write your essay:
Prompt 1, About Modern Heroes:
Which is the more modern hero, Beowulf or Dante the Pilgrim? Keep in mind that, although we covered Dante first in class because it nicely follows the Aeneid, Beowulf is the earlier written poem. This doesn’t however, mean that Dante must be the more “modern” hero. With the proper support, you could write a successful essay arguing either perspective, but be sure to choose one. It may benefit you to consider a few characteristics of modernity and then spend a paragraph or two on each of these characteristics as portrayed by Dante and Beowulf. As always, keep your argument focused, organized, and well-supported with evidence from the text.
Prompt 2, About Christian Heroes:
Which is the better example of a Christian hero, Beowulf or Dante the Pilgrim? As always, keep your argument focused, organized, and well-supported with evidence from the text. With the proper support, you could write a successful essay arguing either side, but be sure to choose one. It may benefit you to consider a few characteristics you think a Christian hero should have and then spend a paragraph or two on each of these characteristics as portrayed by Dante and Beowulf.
Please check to make sure your essay meets the guidelines for argument, organization, mechanics, and style to be found in the Writing Help Document and the “6 Rules for Good Writing” document posted on Blackboard.