top-rated free essay

Hero and Beowulf

By srh2013 Apr 17, 2013 771 Words
Epic heroes possess many traits that other characters lack. Among these are physical strength, bravery, and wisdom. These attributes aid the heroes with their journeys throughout the epic. Beowulf exemplifies each of these traits somewhere is the story. They aid him in his battles with monsters and allow him to be a leader to his people. These traits cause Beowulf to stand out among his peers and endear him to the reader. Beowulf is definitely a perfect example of an epic hero. Beowulf's physical strength, bravery, and wisdom characterize him as an epic hero. Beowulf's physical strength is revealed to the reader through his amazing feats and his unbelievable battles with mystical creatures. In lines 91 and 92 it states that Beowulf was the strongest man in the world. These words come from the Geats who are barbaric people to begin with. The fact that they speak so highly of Beowulf's strength is a testament to its truthfulness. After Beowulf arrives in Denmark he quickly travels to Herot to prepare for his battle with Grendel. In the lines following 307 it is stated that Grendel was instantly seized by Beowulf upon trying to clutch him. This is a feat that no man was able to accomplish before Beowulf's arrival. Beowulf's strength is also shown in his battle with Grendel's mother. In lines 465 and 466 it states that Beowulf was able to throw the she-witch to the ground. This only reemphasizes Beowulf's great physical strength. Finally, Beowulf's strength is shown in his battle with the dragon. Beowulf's battle with the dragon occurs when he is an old man. The fact that Beowulf is still able to defeat the dragon shows the reader the extent of his great strength. Beowulf's great physical strength is one of the characteristics that make him an epic hero.

The second characteristic that Beowulf embodies is bravery. In the beginning of the story it is made obvious to the reader that Beowulf has led a glorious youth. He preformed feats that no other man would dare try. As soon as word of Grendel reaches the shores of Geatland, Beowulf makes it his personal mission to defeat the monster. During the battle with Grendel on lines 295 and 296, Beowulf lies patiently on the floor and waits for Grendel to seize him. He also chooses not to use weapons to fight the monster. When pursuing Grendel's mother on lines 307 and 308, Beowulf jumps into the lake without a second thought. As he sinks to the bottom the thoughts crossing his mind are of the battle to come and the glory he will gain. During the battle with the dragon Beowulf continues fighting alongside Wiglaf even after all others abandon them. One of the main sources of Beowulf's bravery is his belief that "God" is in control. Beowulf believes that he has no control over his own death. With this knowledge Beowulf can storm into battle with no hesitations. Beowulf's bravery is the second characteristic that makes him an epic hero.

The final characteristic that sets Beowulf apart as an epic hero is his wisdom. From the beginning of the story Beowulf is painted as a wise individual. On the long journey from Geatland to Denmark Beowulf serves as the boat captain. He is the figurehead of his fellow Geats and is shown as the leader. During his battle with Grendel, Beowulf displays superior fighting ability and combat strategy. By pretending to be asleep, Beowulf surprises Grendel and gains the upper hand in the fight. When Beowulf is dragged into the she-witches lair he quickly realizes that his weapons have no effect. Beowulf sees the giant's sword hanging on the wall and draws it. Using the sword he severs the head of Grendel's mother and wins the battle. When Beowulf was faced with an unusual condition, he used his wisdom to guide him through the battle. Eventually Beowulf became the ruler of Geatland. His years of fighting had given him the wisdom to effectively lead his people. There he would rule until his return to Denmark and his final battle with the dragon. Beowulf's strength is the third quality that defines him as an epic hero.

Beowulf is one of the most popular examples of an epic hero. His physical strength, bravery, and wisdom set him apart from all other warriors. Beowulf was able to defeat enemies that no other man would challenge. Even though Beowulf was eventually slain in battle, he died never knowing defeat. This is an accomplishment that few heroes make. Beowulf represents one of the most notable epic heroes in history.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Beowulf Is a Hero

    ...Beowulf Essay Every epic hero possesses certain heroic characteristics. The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf is the hero. He shows that he is a great man by always putting other things before his own needs. He is important and needed by his people and is known by many as a strong, courageous and ...

    Read More
  • Beowulf the Hero

    ...Beowulf The Hero “… A fiend out of hell”(Heaney 100). These words describe the monster Grendel, who is truly an evil entity. Only an epic hero with strength, courage and confidence is able to defeat this mighty foe. This hero’s name is Beowulf. He displays all of these throughout the epic. Beowulf’s first epic hero trait is confid...

    Read More
  • Beowulf as a Hero

    ...A true hero does not fear death but instead risks all that he is for what he believes to be right, moral, and just. Revered by many, Beowulf is considered to be one of the most renowned Anglo-Saxon poems of all time. Beowulf faces death defying feats that no ordinary man would be able to complete, thus earning the hero status. Beowulf encoun...

    Read More
  • Beowulf the Epic Hero

    ...Beowulf the Epic Hero What does it mean to be a hero? Like anything else in this world, the definition of the word hero can be argued. Some may say that a hero can be passive, that is if he or she refrains from doing a certain action it makes them heroic. Others would argue that to be truly heroic the character must never turn tail and alwa...

    Read More
  • Archetypes: Hero and Beowulf

    ...composed of the Twelve Stages. The Twelve Stages of a hero’s journey are the steps every person must take in order to prove one’s self as a hero. Mythical heroes such as Theseus, Sigurd, and Beowulf clearly demonstrate the archetypal qualities of a hero. A typical hero is seen as a morally just individual, with a noticeably ethical intent. ...

    Read More
  • Scandinavian Hero Beowulf

    ...Undercover Wulf Beowulf, the Old-English epic poem, is characteristic of its Nordic-Germanic roots as a tale of a great Scandinavian hero Beowulf, who saves a neighboring kingdom from the wrath of the destructive, blood-thirsty monster, Grendel, and eventually becomes the king of his own people, the Geats. Closely related to modern day tribal a...

    Read More
  • Beowulf, the Epic Hero

    ...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. Throug...

    Read More
  • Hero and Beowulf

    ...The Anglo-Saxon hero had to have a strong sense of duty, possess honor, be courageous and lastly they had to have incredible strength. In the case of Beowulf, even though he boasted of his feats and his ability to defeat anyone placed before him, he was still perceived as humble. A hero must be willing to sacrifice his or her own life without gi...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.