The Fight Between Beowulf and Ellen Degeneres
Different Times, Same Principles
Written by Sylver Boyer
Some of the strongest people are those who fight against others, while also fighting themselves, and win. Ellen is a female comedian who has lasted through the years. She fought to have her dream and even landed a part in the TV show, These Friends of Mine, which had been renamed Ellen after the first season. Once this show was eventually cancelled, she starred in her own talk show where she began following a path that would be considered comparable to the great hero Beowulf himself. While there are very obvious differences between the two, there are more similarities than one may think. There are even cases where Ellen might be considered more a hero by modern standards all based on the simple factor of selflessness.
Beowulf fought and killed monsters to help and protect people; he showed bravery in the face of certain death and won most of his battles. To fight the natural human instinct to flee a stronger predator and face all those monsters required an immeasurable amount of bravery; however, Beowulf was fighting a destroyable subject. Something that could be killed and destroyed within the course of a fight. The monster Ellen had to fight wasn’t as easy, this monster was invisible and lived and thrived in the hearts of more people around the world than someone could imagine. That monster is called prejudice. In what has really been only a few short years, the world has become much more accepting of people that aren’t considered part of the majority. When Ellen came out, the world was a very different place; by many it was considered bad and shameful to be a part of the LGBTQ+ society. During Ellen’s hit show Ellen, she made the choice to face who she was and stop keeping secrets. She not only came out in real life but also did so in an episode of her show. Sadly, many stations and advertisers who didn’t support this refused to air the show or allow their advertisement to be played and tried to stop it. Luckily, however, many LGBTQ+ supportive groups came forward and rallied behind the decision (Ellen DeGeneres). Even with these groups supporting her she showed incredible bravery to not only come out to those she was close to, but also come out to the entire world. In an episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast Ellen revealed some of the incredible difficulties she faced in coming out. She talked about for the producers and head people of her show tried to keep her from coming out, too afraid of the ratings dropping to care about how Ellen felt. Ellen also talked how she was humiliated by many late night talk show host’s jokes about her. There was so much backlash from her simply choosing to be who she is and be proud of it (“Ellen DeGeneres”). The monster Prejudice was not a physical singular being that Ellen could kill and be done with, it was an almost never ending concept of hate that she could never escape. This particular monster will never die as prejudice simply shifts its shape to avoid those who try to end it, and this isn’t uncommon knowledge. Ellen was aware of all she would face just for being who she was and yet she still chose to be true to herself. This bravery was not caused by a wish for fame or fortune, simply a wish for her own freedom.
Beowulf earned his fame by fighting monsters and Ellen did the same in a way. Where Beowulf fought beasts like the Grendel, the Grendel’s mother, and a dragon, Ellen fights more realistic monsters like prejudice, bigotry, and as much negativity as she can. A year after Ellen came out, her show was canceled but she had already started being in big picture movies. Moving on to build up to who she is today (“Ellen DeGeneres”). She uses her fame and connecting wealth for good like starting charities. For Ellen’s sixtieth birthday, her wife Portia told her that she started plans for a wildlife center and charity and in more words she said it was the best present ever (Clarendon). Most people would want some new gadget or thing for their birthday, meanwhile Ellen couldn’t be happier with the gift of giving someone else a gift. Ellen was even given awards for her charity, “‘It’s a little strange to get an award for being nice and generous and kind, which is what we’re all supposed to do with one another. That’s the point of being human… Deep down we all love each other and we really need to get back to that’” she got an award from the president and her speech was about how she didn’t deserve it for all she did was be a decent human (Ellis). To add to her fame she was actually one of the people President Obama gave his last Medals of Freedom to (Harris). Beowulf hunted for his fame and carried it on for the pagan value of Lof and simply for the pursuit and want of fame. He wanted to be well known so he would be immortal in some way. Ellen may have searched for fame and for the same want for recognition; however, she uses her fame and recognition in a different way. Ellen uses her fame to help those around her and bring positivity into society. Rather than doing good things for the sake of gaining fame like Beowulf, she uses her fame to do good things, not entirely caring if she gets the recognition for it. Through Beowulf’s fame he gained a good bit of riches, he gave his riches to his warriors, and even fought a dragon for more. Ellen also gained riches through her fame and much like Beowulf she shares it with the others. Ellen started her talk show and has since used said show to do as much good as she can to combat the overwhelming negativity in the world. On a small scale Ellen has done so much for those around her through that show, from sending an entire senior class to the New York State College for four years free to them, to giving 1 million to the audience to be split among each member, to reuniting a navy officer with his girlfriend after being apart for a good while. Her charitable attitude and love for helping others never dies, it moves forward and grows as her opportunities grow (Clarendon). She does everything she can to help the singular people and through partnering with Shutterfly, Ellen has been able to donate thousands to people in order to raise awareness for certain causes or just to make the world a little better of a place (Ellis). On a larger scale, she uses her money to help larger charities, “She donated $25,000 to the Red Cross and $25,000 to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas” (Clarendon). Beowulf may have shared his riches with his warriors; however, it was not with selfless intent. He did so in the expectation that these people would then be in his army and lay their loves down for him. Ellen uses her riches to help everyone she can with no expectations to get anything back from the people she gives to.
Our world is filled with bad people and negativity. Finding bad things to write about is not like finding a needle in a needle stack; it’s incredibly easy and very painful and pokey. Finding positivity and goodness, however, is much harder. That is why when people like Ellen are fighting against society to help everyone the can, society needs to encourage them. Showing everyone else that this is the behavior that humanity should have. Ellen does have flaws and no one is perfect, but she is a shining light for so many people. Even though Ellen isn’t what most typically think of as the stereotypical pagan hero, she and Beowulf share qualities that make her a hero in her own right. With all Ellen’s charity work and bravery she deserves to be recognized for it. While Ellen is not the conventional hero she is a hero who has helped so many people. Beowulf and her share more than people think. Between bravery, fame, or riches she they share the attributes of a pagan hero; however, she is a selfless and better person than Beowulf had been from what the stories and myths have said about him.
English 12PS Period 1
19 November 2018
Clarendon, Dan. “7 Times 'The Ellen Show's' Kindness And Charity Warmed Our Hearts.” A Plus, A Plus Entertainment, 6 Feb. 2018, www.google.com/amp/s/aplus.com/a/ellen-degeneres-show-acts-of-kindnesscharity-donation.amp. Accessed Nov. 7 2018.
“Ellen DeGeneres.” Biography.com, www.google.com/amp/s/www.biography.com/.amp/people/ellen-degeneres-9542420. Accessed Nov. 8 2018.
Ellis, Monique. “How Ellen DeGeneres Is Making the World a Better Place.” Better World International, Better World, 18 Nov. 2017, ewww.betterwo rldinternational.org/blog/ellen-degeneres-making-world-better-place/. Accessed Nov. 7 2018.
Harris, Gardiner. “Obama Awards His Last Presidential Medals of Freedom.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Dec. 2017,, www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/us/politics/presid ential-medal-freedom-springsteen-jordandegeneres.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FDege neres%2C%2BEllen&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection. Accessed Nov. 8 2018.
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