Beowulf- Epic Hero

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Epics exhibit qualities that make them distinct when compared to other genres of literature. Beowulf exhibits characteristics that allows the piece of literature to remain an epic of great proportions. The poem exhibits the epic characteristics of supernatural force, superhuman courage, and the hero is a figure of great national importance.

Beowulf meets the requirements for an epic poem through the exhibition of supernatural force. In the poem, the power of God is sometimes present; meaning that God intervenes with an action or outcome of one of the characters or battles in the epic. In Beowulf, an outside or supernatural force is involved in one of the actions within the poem. In lines 1545-1555, God intervenes when he saved the doomed Beowulf from death by allowing his chain-mail to work properly and strongly. Without the help of God, Beowulf would have perished but it was God whom had decided the victory against Grendel’s mother. The interference of an outside for or God is known as, Deus ex Machina; is Latin which translates to “God in machine.” Along with supernatural involvement there are two other epics qualities that help to make Beowulf part of the epic genre.

The main character in the epic poem, Beowulf, exhibits quality of superhuman courage as well as other epic qualities which helps to make Beowulf part of the epic genre. Beowulf exhibits great courage in his battles with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the Dragon. Just as any other epic character, Beowulf too fulfills the role of being courageous. Beowulf took on two of the most hated and feared monsters, Grendel and his mother. In Beowulf’s final battle, he knew that it would be his last and that death was inevitable. He went on anyways and defeated the once undefeatable Dragon. Beowulf knew that he was “superhuman” and had immense strength as well as courage which helped him to defeat three of the most feared creatures at the time. He can be seen as the epitome of an epic character,...
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