Beowulf is an Epic Hero Essay
469 Words2 Pages
Every epic hero possesses certain heroic characteristics. The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf is the hero. He shows that he is a great man by always putting other things before his own needs. He is important and needed by his people and is known by many as a strong, courageous and a helpful person. He shows all of the qualities and traits that a true hero possesses.
Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities: epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They show great bravery, intelligence, strength and resourcefulness. They have a strong admiration for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they…show more content…
This shows Beowulf’s strength, courage and fearlessness. Through this it is evident that he possess courageous traits.
Beowulf’s strength is exemplified many times in the story. Beowulf was said to have “the strength of thirty men in his mighty handgrip.” He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. In his argument with Unferth, Beowulf explains the reason he lost a swimming match with his opponent Brecca. Not only had Beowulf been swimming for seven nights, he had also stopped to kill nine sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. Beowulf is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel’s mother, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster’s neck with a giant sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with no difficulty, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Heorot. This strength is a key trait of Beowulf’s heroism.
Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own. Beowulf’s uncle is king of the Geats so he is sent to help kill Grendel. His actions toward Grendel show that he is willing to help others. In an epic it is usually found that the hero often determines the fate of a nation or group of people. He uses his super-human physical strength
Beowulf: The Selfless Hero Essay examples
722 Words3 Pages
Beowulf: The Selfless Hero
Beowulf is an epic poem that describes the heroics of a man with superhuman strength and bravery to go with it. The poem starts with a journey across the sea to defeat an enemy that has plagued the land of Herot for twelve years. The poem ends with Beowulf’s final deed of defeating a dragon that was plaguing his own land, but with the defeat of the dragon also comes the death of Beowulf. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a poem of bravery by one of King Arthur’s knights. Sir Gawain takes up the deed of playing a Christmas game with the challenging Green Knight. The Green Knight takes a blow from an ax at the hand of Sir Gawain, and in one year and one day, the Green Knight is to reciprocate the action to Sir…show more content…
“If this combat kills me, take care /of my young company, my comrades in arms. /And be sure also, my beloved Hrothgar, /to send Hygelac the treasures I have received.” (lns. 1480-1483) This quote shows that Beowulf thinks first of his people, then of his possessions. The quote starts with Beowulf facing the fact that he may not come back from this fight alive, revealing that although he has superhuman strength, he is still human and can die. The very next thing Beowulf says of Hrothgar is a request to keep the young men that came to fight with him safe should he not survive. This shows Beowulf’s compassion towards his fellow warriors and that they are his main concern. Lastly he makes sure that Hrothgar knows what to do with Beowulf’s earthly possessions. By requesting that his possessions be given to his king Beowulf shows his selflessness and loyalty to his people.
Beowulf was a hero not only because of his physical strength, but also for his concern for other people. “The hero must move beyond human limits in order to have the capacity to combat the monstrous forces that threaten the social order;” (Sharma 264) Beowulf has been deemed by most to have superhuman strength, but his superhuman strength alone does not make Beowulf any more a hero than Grendel’s strength makes him a hero. Beowulf rises above the limits of a regular human being