Heroic Heroism In Beowulf

Improved Essays
The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf was established as the earlier form of heroism and was then later introduced into the English culture. Highly praised and admired by his people, the Geat leader possesses several distinct traits that allow him to be defined perfectly as an ideal Anglo- Saxon hero. Beowulf exemplifies an ideal Anglo Saxon hero who holds the characteristics of eagerness to seek glory and fame rather than richness and treasures, loyalty and graceful attitude toward his rulers and followers, immense courage in the face of overwhelming danger, contradictory beliefs of faith and fate, and strength and courage on the battlefield. Thus, Beowulf is visioned to be the archetype of an …show more content…
Due to the introduction of Christianity at the time, the monks who preserved this poem unconsciously included their beliefs when transmitting it into a manuscript. In this poem, fate is a significant accountable factor to Beowulf’s heroism. The man “survives only through the protection of God, that all earthly gifts flow from God, and that the proper bearing of man is to be humble and unselfish” (Little, Par 1). However, there is also a strong sense of heroic pride within Beowulf which is at times in direct conflict with these Christian values. Beowulf had great faith to god, he even putted his life in the hands of god. “Whichever one death fells/must deem it a just judgement by God" (Lines 440-441). With such confident of faith, Beowulf undoubtedly earned the name of a hero. The poet had also allowed the readers to see the close relationship between Beowulf and God. After the extermination of Grendel, Hrothgar congratulated Beowulf to have god on his side assisting him: “But now a man,/ with the Lord’s assistance, has accomplished something/none of us could manage before now for all our efforts” (Lines 938-940). Again, Beowulf illustrated an ideal hero, because god had been alongside with Beowulf throughout the poem. Aside from faith, Beowulf also allowed fate to take over the results of his battles. As Beowulf was prepared for his battle against the dragon, he explained “What occurs on …show more content…
Every battle encountered, Beowulf refused to show any signs of fear or hesitancy. Instead, he takes on the challenge and kills those who come before him. One of Beowulf’s grand battle was against the demonic Grendel “haunting the marches, marauding round the health/and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time/in misery among the banished monsters” (Line 103-105). Grendel sought out and murdered thirty men, invading the land of the Danes for 12 years. It is claimed that those who challenged to fight the monster wore an abundance of armor, but “never outlasted an entire night” (Line 520). When it came time for Beowulf, he vows to fight the monster without weapons, showing his incredible courage and willingness to die in the fight if necessary. “unarmed he should face me/ if face me he dares” (Line 684-685). Fighting unarmed will bring the hero greater honor to slay the foe with his bare hands because Beowulf 's vanity will not allow him to miss an opportunity for even greater glory, even if it means his death and disaster for the innocent people he professes to defend. When Grendel arrives and “ripped open/the mouth of the building,” Beowulf seeks

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Beowulf is fighting opponents that mere mortals cannot ever dare to battle. That being so Beowulf is possessed with superhuman powers which he can use to defeat those monsters. Even the monsters are afraid of his power, and you can see this in Grendel. Grendel “had met a man whose hands were harder; his mind was flooded with fear-but nothing could take his talons and himself from that tight hard grip. Grendel’s one thought was to run” (327-330).…

    • 1034 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    And finally, Sir Gawain, beloved knight of all, showed a willingness to sacrifice himself and a great virtue and convition regarding the lady’;s temptations. Surely he too was a hero, but in the end he did accept the lady’s girdle as a sign of her love. The heroes which the world has created for itself are indeed great. However, they are flawed. The only truly perfect hero; the only one capable of actually fulfilling the world’s need for a hero, is Christ…

    • 1156 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Wiglaf was also brave because he took off his armor and helment to defeat the beasts. “ flames flapped the shield, charred it to the boss and the body on the warrior was useless to him” When it came to the last battle Wiglaf armor was useless because Wiglaf would have killed the monster with or without it. Wiglaf actions shows that Wiglaf was pre-paired to win the battle. Wiglaf stands by Beowulf and show his bravery by standing and going with Beowulf to battle against the beasts. Wiglaf was caring because Wiglaf was caring because he told Beowulf that they should hire someone to kill the dragon but Beowulf wanted to protect his kingdom himself When Beowulf was bit by the dragon,…

    • 564 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Values of a Hero Throughout the epic poem, Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, many values embodied by heroes in the Anglo Saxon culture are portrayed. The main character, Beowulf, is the perfect hero according to the culture in this time period. He has all of the traits that a true hero needs. Beowulf is loyal, brave, and he also has great physical strength. Above all of these traits, Beowulf’s pride is what makes him such a great hero.…

    • 1085 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Beowulf: A Hero of His Time, As Well as Today Beowulf, without a doubt, is the perfect representation of an Anglo-Saxon hero, as well as a modern day one. The characteristics he portrays throughout Beowulf truly sums up what it means to be a hero in the Anglo-Saxon period. He takes on great challenges and goes on difficult endeavors, all while embodying the qualities of a hero in his time. An epic hero is defined as a noble and brave character in an epic poem, and they are admired for their great achievements. Beowulf stands by that definition, and exemplifies having a sense of duty, courage, and super strength in the poem.…

    • 1251 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He also gives Wiglaf his golden collar. This is the fall of an epic hero also embodies and represents the most cherished values and ideals of a society. Throughout the story, Beowulf repeatedly acknowledges God as his protector. When Beowulf relates his battle with Grendel 's mother, he states that "The fight would have ended straightaway if God had not guarded me”. In conclusion, Beowulf is characterized as a fearless warrior with physical strength and a resourceful leader.…

    • 1135 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Theme Of Honor In Beowulf

    • 1016 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Wiglaf encouraged Beowulf before the battle with the dragon. “Beloved beowulf, remember how you boasted, once, that nothing in the world would ever destroy your fame: fight to keep it, now be strong and brave,my noble king, protecting life and fame together.” (CIX) Beowulf said arrogant things about his skills and experience. Battles, like this one were his chance to prove his worth. Beowulf’s experiences made him work harder for each victory in order for him to keep his…

    • 1016 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    An epic hero is a brave and noble character, someone admired by great achievements. Beowulf did many things in the short story to become a hero. He did whatever he could in his power to save people, the bravery and courage showed throughout the text helps support the fact that he is a hero. Even though Hrothgar helped Beowulf's father, Beowulf chose to be at Herot Hall waiting for Grendel…

    • 626 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Beowulf Hero Analysis

    • 819 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Beowulf is an epic hero and an Anglo- Saxon hero for many different reasons. Other than Beowulf being the central character and presenting himself larger than life, he also is the definition of a hero. When one defines a hero with the values of Anglo- Saxons, the hero would be defined as a man with extraordinary qualities, be honorable, and show bravery. The hero would also have a sense of duty, which in this case means being devoted to one’s people. Beowulf is shown as a hero with extraordinary strength.…

    • 819 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Bravery In Beowulf

    • 575 Words
    • 3 Pages

    He proves his bravery by fighting off the appalling monster, Grendel, with his bare hands creating a seemingly fair fight, “I have heard, / Too, that the monster’s scorn of men / Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. / Nor will I” (line 166-169). No sword could prove his courageousness. It is a necessity that he maintains his reputation; he explains to his people “My hands / Alone shall fight for me” (line 172-173). Beowulf does not fear death or a quarrel, for he is tremendously brave.…

    • 575 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics