Beowulf is an Epic Hero Essay
469 Words2 Pages
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 a helpful person. He shows all of the qualities and traits that a true hero possesses.
Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities: epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They show great bravery, intelligence, strength and resourcefulness. They have a strong admiration for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they…show more content…
This shows Beowulf’s strength, courage and fearlessness. Through this it is evident that he possess courageous traits.
Beowulf’s strength is exemplified many times in the story. Beowulf was said to have “the strength of thirty men in his mighty handgrip.” He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. In his argument with Unferth, Beowulf explains the reason he lost a swimming match with his opponent Brecca. Not only had Beowulf been swimming for seven nights, he had also stopped to kill nine sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. Beowulf is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel’s mother, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster’s neck with a giant sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with no difficulty, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Heorot. This strength is a key trait of Beowulf’s heroism.
Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own. Beowulf’s uncle is king of the Geats so he is sent to help kill Grendel. His actions toward Grendel show that he is willing to help others. In an epic it is usually found that the hero often determines the fate of a nation or group of people. He uses his super-human physical strength
Comparing Honor and Bravery in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
475 Words2 Pages
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowulf share several similar qualities. Each story suggests that honor, truth, and heroism are the most important a person can exhibit, though in each tale these are manifested in different ways. Both characters, in attempts to keep these values, make mistakes that endanger their lives.
Beowulf is an incredible, and at times unbelievable, hero who can and will attempt to defeat anyone to keep others safe. This will eventually lead to his death as he successfully defeats the Dragon. But as ruling king at the time his subsequent death leaves his people in a worse predicament than before. Now, without a just ruler, the kingdom will possibly undergo uncertainty and chaos as no heir to the throne is…show more content…
Tricked by the Green Knight and Morgan le Faye, Gawain, driven by his sense of duty and honor, must sacrifice his own life for those ideals. I believe that though Gawain is a bit foolish in his quest to lose his head, he did make the correct decision in protecting Arthur. Like King Beowulf, the loss of Arthur would have been very detrimental to the society at the time. Gawain sacrifices himself in order to preserve Order.
The world of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is governed by well-defined codes of behavior, most importantly the code of chivalry. The ideals of chivalry derive from a Christian concept of morality. This sense of morality is somewhat shown in Beowulf as well. Beowulf seeks to kill Grendel, his mother, and the dragon because they pose a threat to the civilized people of the time. A descendent of Cain, Grendel is inherently evil and must be destroyed.
But while Beowulf is ever ready and willing to die in his quests, Gawain values his life far more. This also reflects on the influences of Christianity in the two stories. In Beowulf’s world, a man was only immortalized by his actions and in the memories of others. Beowulf took risks so that his deeds would be far more exciting and thus more popular, easier for the story tellers to remember.
Gawain, however, being a devoutly