Beowulf, the Epic Hero

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Beowulf, the Epic Hero

There have been many grand stories about great warriors, and champions; those about epic heroes however, are the truly exceptional tales. One such tale, over a thousand years old, stands out from all the rest: Beowulf, the tale of a great warrior, on his quest to achieve eternal glory, defeating great opponents. Throughout the whole story, Beowulf demonstrates most –if not all- of the qualities that an archetypal hero possesses. He embodies the highest ideals of his culture, travels to find adventure, and is not emotionally connected to his followers. Beowulf undertakes his journey to achieve something of great value to himself and society, defeats monsters, yet maintains humanity. Although Beowulf experiences human emotions and feelings, he is able to master and control them very well, and he will be remembered forever, achieving a type of immortality.

Firstly, Beowulf is considered to be “larger than life” by mostly everybody he comes in contact with, owing to the fact that he exemplifies the highest ideals of the culture. These values include valour, courage, a sense of justice, dignity and persistence. Throughout the tale, Beowulf demonstrates his valour and courage with his numerous battles with Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, the Dragon, and his swimming match with Breca. Not only that, he also cuts his arm off in the battle with the Dragon, an act that requires more courage and bravery than the typical human capable of possessing. Beowulf’s main character foil, Unferth, stated himself,”Yours is the blood of courage.” It is clear that Beowulf has a great sense of justice, although sometimes it is quite exuberated; he gives Finn of Frisia a weapon to kill him with, and he also fought Grendel as an equal, without any clothes or weapons. This is an example of Beowulf’s heroic dignity as well. One quality that is continually evident throughout the story is Beowulf’s persistence. He never forfeits a battle, or passes up a...
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