Essay about Beowulf: an Epic Hero

982 Words Nov 22nd, 2005 4 Pages
Nate Gauvain
British Literature
Beowulf Essay
9/22/04
Beowulf: An Epic Hero

According to Abrams, the heroic poem is "a long verse narrative on a serious subject, told in an elevated style, and centered on a heroic or quasi-divine figure on whose actions depends the fate of a tribe, a nation, or the human race." Beowulf fits Abrams' description of an epic, exhibiting all of the characteristics listed throughout the book, thus defining Beowulf as a hero and making the book an epic through it's elevated style, the focus of a hero, and a quasi-divine hero which a tribe, nation or human race is dependent on. Beowulf is a narrative which describes the adventures of the hero Beowulf as he travels from his homeland of Geatland to
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Beowulf was originally written in Old English, and has been translated into modern-day English many different times. Old English was a formal and proper language that, when translated, can become drawn out. The fact that Beowulf was written in Old English can help to explain why it is over three-thousand lines long, as well as why many of the actions and descriptions carry on for several lines within the poem. In a sense, most heroic poetry was written in older languages such as Latin and Old English, which may help to explain why traits such as length and elevated language are common among almost all epics. Throughout Beowulf, it is clear that the title character is shown as a heroic figure, voluntarily repaying his father's debt and traveling to another nation to save them from a horrific monster, then defeating the monster's mother and avenging the death of Aeschere, and finally protecting his own kingdom from a dragon, dying minutes after the battle. What is interesting and somewhat unique about Beowulf's heroic status is that he leaves Geatland as just a young warrior, becomes recognized as a hero in the Danes' land for most of the story, but then returns and dies as a hero in his homeland at the end. Beowulf is a hero to two nations and two peoples, the Geats and the Danes. He is recognized by some as a courageous fighter who, to repay a debt

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