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Beowulf as an Epic Hero

Essay by review  •  February 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  489 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,168 Views

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Beowulf Essay

Beowulf is by far the most epic hero of all times. This is obvious when his super-human strength, loyalty, courage, generosity and reputation are taken into account. Throughout the epic poem, "Beowulf", he comes upon hideous monsters and the largest of all beasts yet he never shows fear. He uses his immense courage and unshakable strength to put his people ahead of himself. His boast by far triumphs over all others and he uses his experience to lead others. Beowulf repeatedly risks his existence to achieve immortal glory and to build for the good of his people. He embodies all the ideals of his society and is the quintessential Anglo-Saxon man.

Beowulf continually puts the welfare of his people ahead of his own. His goal throughout "Beowulf" was to secure safety for others. He is sent to rid the Geats of a terrible, previously undefeatable, monster. He risks his very life for the Danes and asks for assistance from no one. He completely realizes the dangers of his mission yet stops at nothing to slay Grendel. Even after serving as king for fifty years, Beowulf steps down from his throne to fight a horrible dragon that is terrorizing his people. His generosity and courage are keys traits to his heroism.

Beowulf is a hero to his people due to his inconceivable strength. He fought through countless battles returning gloriously from all but his last. Throughout his argument with Unferth, Beowulf defends his loss against Brecca. Not only had they been swimming for seven endless nights, but he also slain nine sea creatures. Beowulf was the only one who was strong enough to defeat the monster, Grendel, by tearing his arm from his body with his bare hands. Beowulf is the only man who could have lifted the Giant's sword which he killed Grendel's mother with. He carried her head all the way to the ocean, which later took four men to lift. Beowulf's strength further proves his heroism.

One of the foremost heroic traits of Beowulf is that he his not afraid of death. Before each battle, he clearly states his death wishes and dedicates all of his possessions to his people. "And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac, return the inheritance I had from Hrehtel, and from Wayland. Fate will unwind as it must!" Beowulf realizes that Fate will work throughout his life and he has absolutely no control over when he dies.

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