Essay on Hero and Beowulf

1623 Words Dec 14th, 2012 7 Pages
The hero is an age-old concept that describes someone that will defend their honor to the end. In Beowulf, the author portrays the warrior Beowulf and his three battles in such a way as to clearly define what it means to be a hero. Fred Robinson and J. R. R. Tolkien addressed heroism in Beowulf regarding the warrior’s traits, as well as his battles and burial. The author of Beowulf defines the hero through Beowulf’s three battles with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. In this poem, each monster possesses a specific quality undesired by heroes. Beowulf battles anger/jealousy, vengeance, and greed/selfishness for the good of his Geat nation. As Beowulf fends off these anti-hero traits, he becomes capable of being a great leader of …show more content…
Beowulf understands that he must put the honor of the nation before his own. Rather than be envious of the throne and cheat the prince out of his ancestral right, Beowulf is respectful and understands his place in society. A hero cannot seek death in cold blood – this concept derives from Beowulf’s second battle against Grendel’s mother. Grendel’s mother, upon seeing the fatally wounded Grendel, “had sallied forth on a savage journey / grief-racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge” (1277-1278). This second battle teaches how the hero cannot seek the death of his/her foe out of spite – this will lead to the demise of the hero because Beowulf, as a hero, should act in honor of himself and his nation. Beowulf cannot put his own greedy intentions ahead; he must fulfill the fate of the divine. Unlike Grendel’s mother, Beowulf avenges the whole nation in the following; “The warrior determined to take revenge / for every gross act Grendel had committed / and not only for that one occasion” (1577-1579). Beowulf is not seeking to avenge his own honor or his own pride; instead, he seeks to honor the entire nation of the Danes. Also, once the mother’s vengeance was put to rest in her death, “the wide water, the waves and pools / were no longer infested once the wandering fiend / let go of her life” (1620-1622). From this idea, vengeance can be conceived as a source of corruption. In other words, if Beowulf were to seek

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