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Grendel's Mother and Beowulf

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Topics: Beowulf
H English 10A
19 August 2013 Warrior Prince Beowulf: An Epic Hero
Epic hero -
Noun
A brave and noble character in an epic poem admired for great achievements or affected by grand events.
In the epic poem Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel, the warrior-prince Beowulf portrays each quality required to be an Epic Hero. When Beowulf is challenged, he stands his ground, with his head held high and his mind suffused with pride. He fears nothing and no one. Beowulf’s qualities are above a noble warrior but of an epic hero. His physical strength is shown in the battle against Grendel. Beowulf exposes his ethical aspect when he inquired Hrothgar’s permission to kill Grendel. Beowulf’s quests are always successful by virtue of showing neither weakness nor fear. He is glorified during his battle against Grendel’s mother under the sea, which is virtually impossible. Beowulf died a noble death nevertheless he leaves with the glory of an epic hero.
One of the four qualifications of an epic hero is strength. “But the truth is simple: no man swims in the sea as I can, no strength is a match for mine.” (Page: 40, line: 532- 534, Chapter 8) Beowulf, when taunted by Unferth, tells of the swimming contest against Brecca. He explains that his defeat was caused by sea monsters which he fought off and cleaned the sea. He is determined he could beat Brecca in a rematch. In addition, Beowulf becomes vain when discussing his future battle against the monster Grendel. “Grendel is no braver, no stronger than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not easy as it would be…His claws and teeth scratching at my shield, his clumsy fists beating at my sword blade, would be helpless.” (Page: 44, line: 677- 687, Chapter 10). In his battle against Grendel, he defeats the monster with his powerful grip, ripping Grendel’s arm off. Beowulf proves he has the strength of any mighty hero before his time.
In addition to strength, Beowulf exemplifies the ethical aspect of being an epic hero. Beowulf’s life is ruled by a code of honor and he continues this lifestyle when ruling the kingdom of Herot. Beowulf is compelled with pity upon Unferth; he senses Unferth’s dread and misery over Beowulf’s victories. “To an enemy’s camp, or asked to support some hero’s courage and win him glory. Unferth had tried to forget his greeting to Beowulf, his drunken speech of welcome…Unferth was afraid, gave up that chance to work wonders, win glory and a hero’s fame.” (Page: 69. Line: 1464- 1471, Chapter 21) Even the best of heroes don’t gloat.
Furthermore, no quest beneficial to Beowulf is too far, too difficult, or unbearable for the warrior prince. “… And quickly commanded a boat fitted out proclaiming that he’d go to that famous king, would sail across the sea Hrothgar, now when help was needed.” (Page: 29, line: 198-201, Chapter 3) Beowulf was noble to ask the King Hrothgar for his permission to slay the beast Grendel. Beowulf slayed the beast not only to remove this beast from the kingdom, he did it to collect glory from the people of Herot. “Let you sorrow end! …. He who can earn it should fight is the noblest goals. Arise, guardian of this kingdom, let us go as quickly as we can...” (Page: 67, line: 1385-1397, Chapter 21). No matter the circumstances the quest will be fulfilled by Beowulf. “The trail took them up towering, rocky hills and over narrow, winding paths they had never seen, down steep in the Earth hid in their holes…” (Page: 67, line: 1407-1422, Chapter 21). Beowulf works hard for his title.
Additionally, Beowulf displays his significance and glory. Beowulf ruled a harmonic kingdom for 50 years. He is glorified with horses, armor and land. Yet he glorifies himself by his own insolence. “…crowds, surrounded Herot, felt no request for his suffering.” (Page: 49, line: 837-842, Chapter 12-13). In the battle against Grendel’s mother, Beowulf took the head of the monster Grendel as a souvenir to show King Hrothgar of his victory in the battle. “…To salute him and show Grendel’s head. He carried that terrible trophy by the hair, brought it straight to where the Danes sat, drinking, the queen among them. It was weird and wonderful sight, and the warriors stared.” (Page: 74, line: 1646-1650, Chapter 23). His glory brought peace into the kingdom. “They and you may now sleep without fear of monster, mother, or son” (Page: 75, line: 1674-1676, Chapter 24)
Beowulf exemplifies heroism in his adolescence years to his venerable years. With Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon, these three confrontations as explanations of the heroic code, it is a clearer contrast between Beowulf’s youthful heroism as a free warrior and his mature heroism as an honorable king. These two periods of his life, separated by fifty years, resemble to two different examples of integrity, and much of the noble reflection in the epic poem centers on characterize these two examples and on showing how Beowulf makes the change from one to the other. Citations:
© 2013 Shmoop University, Inc., Beowulf Strength and Skill Quotes Page 1, http://www.easybib.com/reference/guide/mla/website
Anne Lessing, Beowulf as Epic Hero, http://voices.yahoo.com/beowulf-as-epic-hero-7299116.html
© 2013 Answers Corporation, What is makes Beowulf the ideal epic hero?, http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_makes_beowolf_the_ideal_epic_hero
© 2013 Spark Notes LLC, Analysis of Major Characters, http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/beowulf/canalysis.html
Wow Essays, Beowulf As An Epic Hero, http://www.wowessays.com/dbase/ac2/xaj137.shtml

Word Count: 909 words (not including the ones being typed now)

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