Beowulf : The Epic Hero Essay

1151 Words Feb 16th, 2016 null Page
Beowulf is an action-packed Anglo-Saxon folk epic which focuses on a central character named Beowulf. In the past, this folk epic was recited as entertainment and passed down orally through numerous generations (just like other folk epics). As time passed and as the epic was retold by more people, it grew in length and included even more adventures and battles. In fact, two completely new parts were added on to Beowulf after Beowulf defeated Grendel. Just as a tragedy requires a tragic hero, an epic requires an epic hero. In Beowulf, the character of Beowulf is the epic hero because he embarks upon a grand quest with a group of fourteen men, he battles gruesome evil forces, he is a larger-than-life figure of noble birth, and he demonstrates valorous deeds. In addition, through Beowulf’s actions, Anglo-Saxon men learned how they were supposed to act and what was considered ideal values. In Beowulf, the character Beowulf is a prime example of an epic hero because he pursues an arduous quest in order to save a neighboring kingdom from a bloodthirsty and jealous monster named Grendel. In the epic, Beowulf also chooses a group of men to accompany him and aid him in his quest; he chose “the mightiest men he could find, the bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen in all” (lines 120-122). In folk epics, it is common for the epic hero to assemble a band of followers to aid him in his quest. As for Beowulf’s quest, Beowulf requests that Hrothgar grant him “this one favor…

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