In the Dragon’s Den: Exploring the Vice of Greed in Star Wars, The Faerie Queene, and Beowulf
This video examines the greed of Han Solo and his road to redemption, comparing his story to Beowulf’s, as well as to the Red Cross Knight’s in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. All three heroes face dragons who exemplify the greed to which the heroes could succumb. In A New Hope, Han is motivated solely by greed, as seen in his haggling with Obi-Wan and Luke in the cantina. Soon afterward, Han encounters Jabba, an elongated, dragon-like embodiment of greed. Han’s debt to Jabba is symbolic of the greed within himself. In fact, later in the film Luke successfully appeals to Han’s greedy tendencies in convincing him to help rescue Princess Leia. Beowulf, in contrast to Han, seems more greedy for fame than for treasure, whereas the Red Cross Knight is similar to Han in having a love interest who pulls him away from a pit of despair, ennobling him (for Han, this is Leia). Still, it can be said that the bond between Han and Luke is as important as that between Beowulf and Wiglaf. Although Han rescues Luke on Hoth and learns to truly love Leia, Jabba remains as a final obstacle before he can be totally redeemed. Here it is significant that Beowulf, Red Cross Knight, and Han do not defeat their dragons alone. They all need help—whether from a male companion, a higher power, and/or a female love interest—to break away completely from these bestial symbols of greed.
Weed, Christian; Grapes, Dana; and Harnish, Curtis, "In the Dragon’s Den: Exploring the Vice of Greed in Star Wars, The Faerie Queene, and Beowulf" (2015). Videos: Monsters & Villains Holocron. Paper 3.