The hero character is British literature in general has been always famous and more loved by readers. Readers love reading about good people defeating the bad. The heroes of British literature as time went by starting off with Beowulf who was a perfect hero. Doctor Faustus on the other hand was not. Doctor Faustus was a very flawed hero and is portrayed as a anti-hero. The heroes reflect the time period of when the story was made and what they stood for and how society was during that time. What heroes mean and stood for has changed over the literary periods of British literature. Firstly, Beowulf as a hero was what reflected of the people’s values and beliefs that shared the story during that time period. The history behind Beowulf was the Anglo-Saxon sharing the story of him. Beowulf is told as the perfect hero. Beowulf is honorable, courageous, good to his people and a leader. The lines at beginning stating “So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness. We have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns” (Unknown 1-3). This is what the story thinks of people who are courageous and this what they valued in people. The story reflects what the Anglo-Saxons thought of their warriors. The Anglo-Saxons lived in tribal groups and over time as the tribe grew, a king was made. Beowulf is portrayed as living amongst tribal groups and later in the story he becomes a king. The Anglo-Saxons are a group of warriors too. Anglo-Saxon favors fighting and is an honor to die in combat, which what happens to Beowulf. When Beowulf dies, its not to be tragic or not but honorable and was the best way to go. Beowulf’s portrayal is what they perceive as the perfect hero for their group. A person with virtue and honor is what the Anglo-Saxons believed to be a great warrior and person. Appreciation of a warrior’s actions is highly looked up upon the Anglo-Saxons and that’s what they portrayed Beowulf to be like that. Beowulf portrayed as a king is what the Anglo-Saxons perceived as a great king. The king is supposed to have strength, honor, hospitality of guests, generous and care about his people above all else. This is how Beowulf is portrayed in the story as well. The theme of good vs evil in Beowulf is what was a popular theme among the Anglo-Saxons in their stories. Also they mixing of Pagan and Christian beliefs for Beowulf is what they Anglo-Saxons believed in their society. The Anglo-Saxon culture during that time period when Beowulf was created is shown to be a warrior culture who preserve honor, courage, and strength and Beowulf as a character is shown to reflect these ideas in the story. Secondly, the King Arthur story during the medieval time period is almost of similar traits and character as Beowulf too. King Arthur values is what many knights during that time period also valued. Knights were chivalrous, honorable, and courageous. King Arthur was in many ways just like Beowulf. He was also a king just like Beowulf and he was known as a fair and wise leader. They were both warriors too and portrayed as great ones too. In the movie King Arthur, Artorious Castus who is supposed to be King Arthur states “Deeds in themselves are meaningless unless they’re for some higher purpose” (Fuqua). This is what the character King Arthur valued and wanted to do good deeds for the innocent. This is what the cultures of the knights were like during the medieval period. They valued knights who protected the innocent and who were also honorable also. People in the medieval times valued knights who protected the innocent and wanted to be safe against evil. Thirdly, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the hero is like King Arthur in many ways also and still shows the time period of what people value in knights. Sir Gawain is a knight with honor and chasity. The part where the host’s lady acknowledges his chastity by saying “Sir, if you be Gawain, it seems a great wonder, A man so well-meaning, and mannerly disposed, And cannot act in company as courtesy bids” (Pearl Poet 1481-1483). This shows him being honorable by not breaking his vows. These traits are what readers back then valued in a knight and wanted honorable knights to defend them and shows what the knight culture was like in the medieval period. Lastly, the story of Doctor Faustus is very different then the other stories. The story of Doctor Faustus is a tragedy and not the typical story of that time of good defeating evil. Doctor Faustus is a very different as the typical hero too. He is not honorable, courageous or even a warrior at all. Unlike Beowulf and the King Arthur story he does not fight anyone at all too. These story have heroes who are clearly defined but not in Doctor Faustus. He is portrayed as more of an anti-hero more than anything. Doctor Faustus is more complex and layered than the other heroes who are pretty much one-dimensional characters. He questions selling his soul by saying “Think’st thou that Faustus is so fond to imagine. That after this life there is any pain? Tush, these are trifles and mere old wives’ tales” (Marlowe 5.17). Also in a sense he is a hero who is turning evil as he sells his soul to the devil. In the end though as the play ends, Doctor Faustus is dragged into hell which makes the play into a tragedy. The good guy did not defeat the bad guys and instead lost to them. This is vastly different then the other stories because stories such as Beowulf and King Arthur they win. Their endings show them fighting the forces of evil and has a good conclusion for the heroes. This play with a anti-hero shows the time period and history behind it. The play was about conflicting with religion and was set during a time where England was having conflict with Protestants and the author of the play was conflicted with religion. The play is darker than the other stories being in British literature and the typically hero is more realistic and has depth then Beowulf and King Arthur. Main characters started becoming more and more evil, for instance Volpone in the play Volpone. He is a dark character and a very despicable person too. He is very greedy and only cares about himself. Mosca was  saying “Riches are in fortune, A greater good than wisdom is in nature” (Jonson 28-29). Volpone agreed with that statement and showed his greedy nature by only caring his fortune and nothing else. This is a departure from a typical hero who defend good by beating evil instead showing the evil. More and more darker characters showed what the time period was getting more and more darker as bad people was becoming more then the good. The typical story of knights and warriors fighting evil over time got different because of the time period it was set in. Knights were no longer looked as the defender of good and stories started showing more realistic people and heroes weren’t as clearly defined. Doctor Faustus is an example of this as he is a complex character and not a hero at all. Beowulf and King Arthur clearly defined what a hero should be and it shows the values of what people thought during that time period.

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