Beowulf Epic Hero Essay

Improved Essays
Beowulf is a pristine example of an epic hero, from his noble birth to his tragic flaw that ultimately leads to his demise and in the process; reveals the complexities of life in the final act of Beowulf by Seamus Heaney. In the epic, Beowulf is the main protagonist and epic hero of the poem. He embodies all of the twelve characteristics of an epic hero such as being born to a Danish thane making him part of the nobility. Much like any epic hero, Beowulf is strong. This is indicated when he fights Grendel and rips his arm off with his bare hands during the first act. Another characteristic he has is his fame. When Beowulf arrives, he is already well known for slaying monsters and other heinous creatures. His fame only increases when he slays Grendel and his mother. Beowulf is courageous for …show more content…
In the first battle it is obvious that Grendel is the main antagonist because he is a demon and he kills Hrothgar’s men. The second battle puts Beowulf up against Grendel’s mother, who is said to be much worse than Grendel himself. But once again, it is obvious that Grendel’s mother is evil. However, in the third act of the poem the dragon isn’t shown to be necessarily evil. The dragon is guarding his treasure when suddenly someone comes in and steals some of it. This awakens and angers the dragon, causing him to go on a hunt for the thief. But another major factor in the final battle is that Beowulf is much older than when he was fighting Grendel. This makes him less ready to battle the dragon and only serves to give Beowulf overconfidence in his abilities which leads to his downfall.
Beowulf is a great example of a epic hero, from his courageousness to his self sacrifice he embodies all the characteristics of an epic hero; he is built upon in the first two acts of the poem before succumbing to his tragic flaw in the final battle,

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    The Battles Being a hero in a battle seems like a tough thing to do especially when you are expected to do unrealistic things in the eyes of the public. In Beowulf he has to face many monsters that have huge potential to kill the ordinary person. You have grendel who can eat a man whole and not even give a second thought about it. Then there is Grendel's mom who is stronger, wiser, and repellant to Beowulf's sword. Then finally the last battle of the story where Beowulf dies is the dragon.…

    • 982 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Evolution Of Beowulf Essay

    • 1084 Words
    • 4 Pages

    He stuck it deep in the dragon’s flank” (page 99, line 2703-2704). The dragon soon perishes and so does Beowulf. At the beginning of the poem we met a young arrogant Beowulf who, at the end of the poem, became a great king who perished for his people. Throughout the story of Beowulf we see Beowulf’s character progress within each battle from foolish to more wise. Beowulf goes from fighting Grendel with no armor or weapons to fighting Grendel’s mother with armor and various weapons and finally to the dragon whom he battles with armor, weapons, a shield and even some help from Wiglaf.…

    • 1084 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Pagan Criticism Of Beowulf

    • 700 Words
    • 3 Pages
    • 1 Works Cited

    His enemy is a dragon which attacks Beowulf’s kingdom because a thief has stolen its treasure (2217-20). Thus the dragon represents greed and pride. By this time, Beowulf is old and weaker than he was before. Nevertheless, he decided to face the dragon on his own, which shows his great pride. Beowulf’s pride is a deadly character flaw, as it makes him reckless and arrogant.…

    • 700 Words
    • 3 Pages
    • 1 Works Cited
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It also gives the reader the backstory of the dragon and how he values his treasury. With that being said, someone awakes the dragon by taking his cup causing him to go on a rampage. Out of anger, trying to find the person who has taken his treasure, he burns down Beowulf house and several others. This causes Beowulf mood to darken and another battle to occur. Earlier in the poem Beowulf is bold and fearless, now he is afraid that he is going to die.…

    • 793 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    How Did Beowulf Fight

    • 521 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The dragon inflicts a serious wound on Beowulf, but he does so right before Beowulf’s friend helps him kill the dragon. This fight symbolizes fate. Beowulf’s hubris leads to his downfall. The first battle Beowulf defeats the monster with the least amount of struggle, and they each progressively get harder from there. Beowulf’s confidence also increases throughout each fight, leading up to the final one where he goes in to fight the toughest monster of all of them, unarmed, and without people to help back him…

    • 521 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the end the epic poem Beowulf, the now king of his own land, Beowulf, set forth to prove his strength by fighting a dragon. Considering his age, this act was very brave of him because it was a very strong possibility he could lose to the dragon, meaning he would have led himself to his own death. Beowulf wanted to be remember, he wanted fame more than anything else, and what would be better to be remembered for than slaying a fire breathing dragon guarding treasure? At the time Beowulf decided to slay the dragon, he was an old man, making him even braver than before because he is not as strong as he once was. With the help of his cousin, Beowulf was able to defeat the dragon, but the victory was not enough to save the king from his battle wounds and he died.…

    • 835 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In this battle, Beowulf shows no superhuman feats by sticking to the armour and weapons he had brought with him. This shows the aging and oncoming weakness. With greedy motives, Beowulf tries to steal the Dragon 's treasure and is bitten by the Dragon, poisoning Beowulf and ultimately killing him. The Dragon is also killed in the duel when Beowulf located a small flaw in the pattern of scales on the evil serpent, using this to his advantage and stabbing the…

    • 860 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Many times throughout this epic, he is described to be certain of his success and not fearful of even the most dangerous monsters, and he constantly boasts about his experiences and victories in battle. This sometimes causes him to make questionable decisions, like when he ventured into the dragon’s lair. “Then did that Storm-Geat prince force a word from his lungs, and he burst with rage… his clear cry resonated loudly beneath the gray rocks of the cliffs” (Roberts 80). Beowulf is so certain about his ability to succeed in killing the dragon that he does not think about using a strategy that may be better than immediately alerting the dragon of his presence. He does not want to ruin his reputation by choosing the arguably smarter action of sneaking up on the dragon.…

    • 831 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Send to Hygelac, if battle takes me off, the best of battle garments that arms my breast… Fate ever goes as it must.” His final words to his comrades before fighting the dragon which does in fact kill him are, “With my might I shall gain the gold; or war, a perilous violent death shall carry off your prince.” He shows a determination to succeed as well as tremendous physical strength and courage to take on new foes. Beowulf’s brute force and determination are reasons he can be called a hero. But what of other…

    • 1156 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Characteristics Of Beowulf

    • 1030 Words
    • 5 Pages

    He was so strong he survived many dangerous battles, “ Beowulf/ a prince of the Geats had killed Grendel/ ended the grief, the sorrow, the suffering/ forced the Hrothgar’s helpless people, by a bloodthirsty fiend. No Dane doubted/ the victory, for the proof, hanging high/ from the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster's/ arm, claw and shoulder” (Raffle 49 Ln.…

    • 1030 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays