Beowulf as the Ideal Epic Hero
Beowulf is an epic poem written back in the Anglo-Saxon time period. In this story the main character, Beowulf, is characterized as arguably the ideal epic hero thus fitting the standard of readers in its time. He is equipped with superhuman strength seen countless times within the text. He is fearless and oversaturated with bravery and courage even when the threat of death lingers around every monster slain. His leadership skills are made evident through his people. And he is larger than life throwing his into the hands of fate countless times for the good of others and immortal glory. Beowulf is the ideal epic hero through his superhuman physical strength, much idolized by the people of the Anglo-Saxon time period. He fought in numerous battles with the odds clearly against him. In his argument with Unferth, Beowulf explains the reason he “lost” his swimming match with his youthful opponent, Brecca. Not only had Beowulf been swimming for seven nights, but he had also stopped to kill nine sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. Beowulf’s strength is palpable in his battle with Grendel as well. In this epic battle of good versus evil, Beowulf refuses to fight with weapons or clothing in order to avoid disgracing his King’s name with such unfairness. With pure strength and brutality he rips the “arm, claw, and shoulder and all” right out of Grendel proving that “[Beowulf] who of all the men on earth was the strongest.” Shortly after this epic battle, Beowulf is faced with yet another challenge, the wrath of Grendel’s mother. And when pursued Beowulf’s only way out of the fight alive is to slay the monster with a sword crafted for giants hanging on the wall in the dwelling of the battle. Using the giant’s sword he acquires the head of the monster, carrying it from the dwelling with ease. The same head took four men to lift and carry back to Herot. All of these examples happen in just the first half of the book defining...
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