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Beowulf Epic Hero Essay Assignment

Beowulf As An Epic Hero Essay

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Every epic hero possesses certain heroic characteristics. Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities: epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They have a noble birth and show great bravery. They display great intelligence and resourcefulness. They have a reverence for G-d and for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they conquer evil (Vivone 9/27/99). In addition to Beowulf’s heroic qualities, he is very strong. Beowulf was said to have “the strength of thirty [men] in his mighty handgrip” (Bloom 11). Early proof of Beowulf’s extraordinary strength is evidenced by his dismemberment of Grendel’s limb, the fight in the cave under water, and the…show more content…

In the morning, warriors look for the body of Grendel by following his bloody trail. They cannot find his body and turn back. Hrothgar’s men finally think that they no longer will be plagued with the presence of the monster and that now they can sleep in peace.
However, their sleep did not last long. During the night, Grendel’s mother came to avenge her son’s death. She enters the hall and grabs Aeschere and her son’s arm. Beowulf goes to follow her and swims for an entire day in her pool before he sees the bottom of the mere. When Beowulf descends into Grendel’s mere, he loses ground as the fight progresses. It is then assumed that Beowulf is fighting desperately for his life. Then, the water closed over him. It was “the space of a day,” before he could see the bottom of the mere (Burlin 121). The hero’s physical powers grow far beyond human dimensions. Beowulf is about to attempt to use a weapon although they were useless against her; “then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy sword...but so massive that no ordinary man could life its carved and decorated length” (72). Once he is in Grendel’s mother’s mere, Beowulf remains underwater for more than a day (Burlin 120). Finally, Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother, and her blood melts his sword (Bloom 16).
Thus far, Beowulf has killed two man-like monsters. Beowulf’s last battle with a dragon is the final substantial fantastic element in this epic poem. W.P. Ker, a nineteenth-century critic, asserts the dragons are

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Beowulf as an Epic Hero

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What are the qualities of an epic hero? An Epic hero is a hero on a
quest, with superhuman powers displaying courage, generosity, and
loyalty. Translated by Burton Raffel, the epic story Beowulf is one of
the best and well known epics of its time. In the novel Beowulf the
epic hero Beowulf shows characteristics of courage, physical strength,
loyalty, self-confidence, and wisdom, much like heroes today.

In the epic Beowulf, the title character, shows his physical strength
and courage in several ways. “‘Dripping with my enemies' blood. I
drove / [f]ive great giants into chains, chased / [a]ll of that race
from earth”’ (Beowulf 232-234). Beowulf boasts at his extensive
bravery and initiative in battle by naming some of his impressive
accomplishments. “‘In the blackest of night, hunting monsters / [o]ut
of the ocean, and killing them one / [b]y one; death was my errand
and the fate / they had earned ’” states Beowulf (Beowulf 235-238).
Here Beowulf brags his bravery once more to tell of his journey and
the lives he’s taken. “‘ My Lord Higlac / [m]ight think less of me if
I let my sword / [g]o where my feet were afraid to, if I hid behind
some broad linden shield: my hands alone shall fight for me...”’ (Beowulf
248-252). Beowulf exhibits his courage by fearlessly offering to
defend the kingdom in battle. “‘ I have heard / [t]oo that the
monster’s scorn of men / [i]s so great that he needs no weapons and
fears none. / Nor will I”’(Beowulf 245-248). Beowulf proves his
extreme amount of courage with his offer to take on the monster
without using any weapons, only physical strength to defeat him. Even
though Beowulf has a large amount of courage, he has the amazing
physical strength to back it up.

While physical strength and courage are essential characteristics of
an epic hero, wisdom, loyalty and self-confidence also play a major
role. “‘ Our errand / [i]s a great one, our business with the glorious

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king / [o]f the Danes is no secret, there’s nothing dark / [o]r hidden
in our coming”’(Beowulf 165-168). Beowulf says that he’s not hiding
anything, he comes with his men for business with the king, and he
expects to do, and get, just that. “‘ And if death does take me, send
the hammered / [m]ail of my armor to Higlac, return / [t]he
inheritance I had from Hrethel, and he / [f]rom Wayland”’(Beowulf
265-268). Beowulf said that if there was anything that should happen
to him, that is what he wanted to be done with his possessions. “‘
That this once favor you should not refuse me- / [t]hat I, alone and
with the help of my men / [m]ay purge all evil from this hall”’(Beowulf
243-245). Beowulf asks for permission for he and his men to pass, with
assurance to get all evil out. “‘ They have seen my strength for
themselves, / [h]ave watched me rise from the darkness of war...”’(Beowulf
230-231). Beowulf expresses his extreme self-confidence by telling
tales of his people watching him overcome war. “ ‘ So Beowulf /
[c]hose the mightiest of men he could find, / [t]he bravest and best
of the Geats, fourteen / [i]n all, and led them down to their
boat;...”’(Beowulf 100-103). Beowulf exploits his wisdom in leading
others by choosing the best of the available men and taking them on
the journey to defeat the monster. In the epic Beowulf, the
characteristics of an epic hero are definitely shown.

Minus the superhuman abilities, even today there are heroes amongst
us. Firemen and Rescue workers are examples of modern day heroes. They
are the people who go out each and everyday risking their lives
striving to make our living environments and arrangements a safer and
happier place. My personal hero is my mom. My mom is my personal hero
because I admire her very much. Throughout my entire life, my family
has been broken apart several times, and my mom was always the one
there to try and pick up the pieces for us, staying strong for
everyone and herself. Having such an amazing person in my life to
influence me has changed the person I am today.

The epic novel Beowulf tells of a trying time for the Geats during the
Anglo-Saxon times, with the superhuman abilities and all of the
characteristics of an epic hero Beowulf has. The novel is a
recommended “must read”. In closing , Remember kids’, Choose your men
wisely, its who’ll be leading your army one day.



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