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Beowulf as a Epic Hero

Essay by   •  November 18, 2010  •  Essay  •  956 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,380 Views

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Beowulf Paper

A true hero does not fear death or, but instead risks all that he is for what he believes to be right, moral, and just. Beowulf is an epic and tells the story of a legendary hero, conquering all obstacles as if he was immortal. Up until the end of Beowulf's life he was constantly looking to be the hero. However, his humanity is exposed by his death. Heroes all share the characteristic of their willingness to die in their effort to accomplish their heroic act, thus making the act in itself heroic. Throughout the epic, Beowulf in many ways exhibited all the qualities and characteristics needed to be a true hero.

Beowulf was passed on from person to person. Beowulf possesses the superhuman abilities, and the amazing power to hold his breath under water for an unlimited period of time. It is easy to feel that these characteristics separate from the realistic nature of the story, and gives the impression that Beowulf is more like a myth than a man. In the epic Beowulf, he's portrayed as almost inhumane, but clearly fulfilled his role as a true hero.

Beowulf has a strong belief in fate. If he dies in battle he believes it's because it is his destiny to do so. "Fate will unwind as it must!" He realizes the dangers but fears nothing for his own life. This is what makes Beowulf a true hero. Even after serving his people as King of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle in hopes, or fate, to destroy a dragon who is terrifying all of his people. At this point however, Beowulf is old and tired but still manages to defeat the dragon in order to protect his people. The most heroic of traits within Beowulf is that he is not afraid to die. He always explains his death wishes before going into battle and requests to have any assets delivered to his people. "And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac...". Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all of them but his last. He understands that fate will work its magic no matter what, and he could be killed at any point in his life. He faces that reality by showing no fear and preparing for a positive or a fatal outcome.

Beowulf showed his honor as he traveled from his homeland to battle the vicious monster Grendel, who was terrorizing the Danes. Grendel "Raided and ravaged" the mead hall, showing no honor by killing intoxicated men in their sleep. Beowulf knows that there is a chance that he may die in his great battle against Grendel when he says, "If death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac...", yet he is still willing to attempt to defeat Grendel. A hero in the Anglo-Saxon time is always very confident, as well he should be. It would serve no purpose to face battle with doubt of ones ability to do so, and with fear of all that awaits him. Beowulf's morality came also in the form of loyalty to people and his word. Promises by Beowulf were kept . Acceptance of death, and care for the welfare of his people were Beowulf's

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