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Beowulf

By katiekahn55 Mar 10, 2013 1490 Words
Epic Hero of the Anglo-Saxon Era: Beowulf
There have been many heroes in the past, like Superman, Batman, even Spiderman; they all exemplify heroic qualities, all different but all powerful in helping out others. Heroes are seen as a respectable character that people put hope into when all might be lost, or even look up to when they need their own strength. From the Anglo-Saxon period, if a person fights for their people, even if it means death they are considered a hero. Beowulf, and Anglo-Saxon hero, comes to Hrothgar seeking to fight the ferocious demons with his mighty strength and courageous soul; through his honorable acts he’s gifted with fame and glory throughout his life, presenting his as an epic hero.

Through Beowulf’s epic he exemplified his muscular achievements by fighting vicious demons, even if those demons are in him. In the epic of Beowulf he gestures, “’They have seen my strength for themselves, / Have watched me rise from the darkness of war, / Dripping with my enemies’ blood. I drove/ Five great giants into chains, chased/ All of that race from the earth” (54). The quote showed how physically strong Beowulf was and how he was beyond human strength, because he can run off giants and has risen from a fight with his enemy’s blood. No average strong person can do that but Beowulf can, showing that he is heroic; he gives the village people hope that he will rid the evil demon away making it a heroic symbol. Beowulf, and Anglo-Saxon hero, comes to Hrothgar seeking to fight the ferocious demons with his mighty strength and courageous soul; through his honorable acts he’s gifted with fame and glory throughout his life, presenting his as an epic hero. In Beowulf’s final boast he exclaims, “’My days

Have gone by as fate willed, waiting
For its word to be spoken, ruling as well
As I knew how, swearing no unholy oaths,
Seeking no lying wars. I can leave
This life happy; I can die, here,
Knowing the Lord of all life has never
Watched me wash my sword in blood
Born of my own family” (73). Beowulf is showing not physical strength here, but more of emotional strength. He is emotionally accepting the fact that he is dying and this shows normal people that Beowulf, even though an epic hero, is normal and can die and not live eternally. Beowulf, and Anglo-Saxon hero, comes to Hrothgar seeking to fight the ferocious demons with his mighty strength and through that one heroic trait he proves himself. This heroic trait is not the only one that projects how Beowulf is an epic hero. On top of Beowulf’s brute strength he demonstrates courageous acts in this epic, whether it is fighting a vicious demon or psycho dragon. Beowulf displays a high amount of courage in the epic when, “He leaped into the lake, would not wait for anyone’s/ Answer; the heaving water covered him/ Over” (60). This quote expresses how he courageously and selflessly jumps into the water, not knowing what’s in there just to defend Hrothgar’s kingdom. His bravery helps the people keep faith when the town is in fear showing a heroic persona. Beowulf, and Anglo-Saxon hero, comes to Hrothgar seeking to fight the ferocious demons with his mighty strength and courageous soul; which is proved through his heroic action of jumping into the water. This isn’t the only act of bravery he has shown. Another act of fearlessness he has exhibited is stated, “Beowulf as he’d planned; then it began to melt, / And for the first time in his life that famous prince/ Fought with fate against him, with glory/ Denied him. He knew it, but raised his sword/ And struck the dragon’s scaly hide” (69). Even though Beowulf knew his fate was against him, he still courageously fought through until the end. He for the last time raised his sword and slayed the dragon. Beowulf shows true heroism here by fighting even though everything was against him for other people. Beowulf uses his courageous soul to defend Hrothgar’s Kingdom and the people in it. Even though Beowulf is courageous he exemplifies many more different heroic traits that let him consider himself an Anglo-Saxon warrior. In addition, not only is Beowulf courageous but is honorable throughout the epic. During Beowulf’s final hour he states in a demanding voice, “’I’ve never known fear; as a youth I fought/ In endless battles. I am old, now, / But I will fight again seek fame still, / If the dragon hiding in his tower dares/ To face me’” (68). This quote explains that even though Beowulf is elderly he is selflessly going out of his way to slay this dragon on his own essentially to protect his kingdom. This heroic act showed that the people can stand up to protect someone even if you have a weakness, like his weakness would be his age. Through this honorable act it showed his inner Anglo-Saxon warrior. A different way Beowulf shows his honorable acts by demanding, “’You know (If we’ve heard

The truth, and has been told honestly) that your country
Is cursed with some strange, vicious creature
That hunts only at night and that no one
Has seen. It’s said, watchman, that he has slaughtered
Your people, brought terror to the darkness. Perhaps
Hrothgar can hunt, here in my heart,
For some way to drive this devil out-
If anything will ever end the evils
Afflicting your wise and famous lord’” (53). This shows that Beowulf came to Hrothgar’s kingdom to fight his demons out of selflessness without anyone calling him. Beowulf is very honorable because he comes from far seas to fight for Hrothgar’s kingdom not for the fame or fortune but to help the people; moreover he had heard of Grendel through different stories and wanted this demon gone from that kingdom. Beowulf, and Anglo-Saxon hero, comes to Hrothgar seeking to fight the ferocious demons with his mighty strength and courageous soul. These are the only few honorable acts he shows throughout this epic.

Throughout these acts, Beowulf is graced with fame and glory through the land, by killing the demons and slaying dragons and protecting the kingdom. There are many times in the epic where it shows where his fame and glory especially after his first battle explained as, “The battle was over, Beowulf/ Had been granted new glory: Grendel escaped, / But wounded as he was could flee to his den,” (58). He was even granted glory right after the monster was slain. Beowulf had come in done his job and the kingdom remembered his name and gave him the glory for ridding the village of the vicious demon. Beowulf is crowned glory by coming into Hrothgar’s kingdom to slay demons with his courageous strength and honorable morals, which was done after killing Grendel. In addition he makes fame in his last fight especially when he announcing to Wiglaf, “’Beloved

Wiglaf, go, quickly, find
The dragon’s treasure; we’ve taken its life,
But its gold is ours, too. Hurry
Bring me ancient silver, precious
Jewels, shining armor and gems,
Before I die. Death will be softer
Leaving life and this people I’ve ruled
So long, if I look at this last of all prizes’” (73). In this speech Beowulf exclaims to bring all the jewels after slaying the dragon, which in essence means since he killed the dragon he deserves the riches in the lair. Through slaying this dragon he seeks the riches before he leaves this Earth, after using his strength, bravery and honorability in the kingdom he is again rewarded to the ends of his days. Beowulf fights the ferocious demons with his mighty strength and courageous soul; through his honorable acts he’s gifted with fame and glory throughout his life, seen in this quote and the meaning behind it. These quotes only show half of the fame and glory received throughout Beowulf’s life and this epic, he has had many other moments where he was rewarded these fine riches.

To conclude, Beowulf has exemplified many heroic traits in this epic and some are not even mentioned. There are many heroes in our society now that show these qualities like The Avengers, or Spiderman, through what Beowulf proves in this epic he could exemplify a modern hero too. These four traits mentioned definitely could make or break a hero if they aren’t strong or courageous they wouldn’t be able to face any villain or demon. Without honor or humbleness when accepting the fame and glory could be perceived as cockiness which is always looked down upon and is never graced and respectable. Beowulf, and Anglo-Saxon hero, comes to Hrothgar seeking to fight the ferocious demons with his mighty strength and courageous soul; through his honorable acts he’s gifted with fame and glory throughout his life, presenting his as an epic hero.

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