The Tragic Hero In Beowulf As An Epic Hero

Improved Essays
Although the protagonist Beowulf was already a hero at start, development and growth were crucial and fundamental necessities in a typical hero’s expedition in achieving something of enormous value for both himself and those around him. In the beginning of the epic poem Beowulf, the main character had already portrayed his heroic nature through his gallantry in the stories that he told and the trials that he was involved in. Beowulf establishes himself as an epic hero by demonstrating core characteristics throughout his journey; they include the idea of restitution, resurrection, and the most important one of them all, his flaw. With his many calls to adventure, Beowulf certainly exemplified superhuman strength and courage when going up against …show more content…
In simpler terms, the hubris is a major characteristic that helps define the Scandinavian protagonist of the poem, Beowulf, as a wondrous example of a valorous and mighty epic hero.
There is no doubt in mind that Beowulf is swollen with pride for his accomplishments and victories. His pride does not go unnoticed, but rather becomes detrimental when he encounters an enemy he cannot defeat, unscathed and alone. His flaw is demonstrated in this example, “Until at last, overweening pride grows and develops within him, and the soul-warden slumbers…” (Roberts 61) Hubris can also be observed here, “I am bold in spirit, and so I forbear more boasts against this winged warrior… This is not your fight, nor is it fitting for any but me alone to test my might against this monster and achieve heroism. I shall win
…show more content…
His resurrection is demonstrated in this example, “The valorous king unclasped a gold collar from his neck and gave it to his vassal, along with the bright golden helmet, breastplate, and ring. He bid the youthful thane use them in joy… This word was the last one harbored in the heart of that wise old man before he chose the hot, consuming flames of the death pyre.” (Roberts 88) Here, the element of resurrection was most fitting because after Beowulf finished his term of rule, he passed on the authority and position to his descendant, the deserving vassal by the name of Wiglaf. With that, the honor and glory earned with the title as king did not end short; rather instead, it continued along the line. As a warrior though, Beowulf was naïve in the way that he acted among others of his kind and boastful in the way that he described his stories of his battles to them. Contrastingly, as a king, he was more loyal to the people of his kingdom in which he reigned over. He wished to leave a legacy for all to remember and hold dear to their hearts. Loyalty and dedication were Beowulf’s qualifying characteristics as an epic hero that was demonstrated in his heroic battle with the ultimate opponent: the monstrous dragon. His shift in social status and position from a dignified warrior to the ruling king of the Geats also accentuates his

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Above all of these traits, Beowulf’s pride is what makes him such a great hero. Many of his great accomplishments are because he wanted to be more famous and proud of himself. Because of these traits Beowulf was a very famous and successful hero in his culture. According to the Anglo Saxon culture a true hero is always loyal. Beowulf proves his loyalty multiple times throughout the epic.…

    • 1085 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    “Keenest to win fame”: Beowulf’s epic life The Anglo-Saxon culture, a culture known for placing the needs of others before oneself, became prevalent at the beginning of the fifth century. The Anglo-Saxon people showed loyalty to their king even if they did not believe in his cause. In the epic poem Beowulf, the protagonist parallels the Anglo-Saxon’s culture with his loyalty to King Hrothgar. Beowulf’s courage to willingly go fight for another country shows that he has not only courage, but strength, leadership, and bravery. Beowulf exemplifies hero-like qualities by obeying his king and fighting for fame.…

    • 1595 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    A hero is an individual that other people aspire to be like and look up to. Beowulf is a type of hero that has many of the common heroic traits such as courage, strength, and loyalty. Pride and glory are also prized possessions for people. Glory extremely evident throughout the poem. Beowulf had pride, but he knew how to contain it.…

    • 1053 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Beowulf: The King and Hero In Beowulf by Seamus Heaney, Beowulf serves as a hero and a king. He proves himself a strong and brave hero, but as a king, it is debatable whether he is ideal. His predecessor, King Hrothgar, was a paragon king, he was generous, humble, wise, and was loved by the people. Beowulf is many of those things, and more, but he is not always humble which leads to faulty, stubborn decision making. In the end, this is a fatal flaw, and it causes the Danes and Geats a lot of trouble.…

    • 1293 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In his quest to assist the Danes, Beowulf show great courage, physical strength and mental cunning when battling his opponents, which makes him appear superhuman and far superior to the average man. In addition his loyalty and generosity toward his subjects make him a better leader and a hero. Therefore, he is loved by the people and favored by God. In the story, Beowulf constantly fights against the evil to protect his people, then later dies with honor. He’s a selfless and almighty…

    • 1034 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Beowulf Hero Analysis

    • 819 Words
    • 4 Pages

    After the conquer of the dragon Beowulf doesn’t even ask for a reward for himself but instead insisted on giving the bounty to his kingdom so that they might prosper. Although many define Beowulf as an epic hero because of his strength, the real heroism was shown in Beowulf 's actions by strictly fighting for his people. Beowulf’s strength solely is not what defeated the dragon. Beowulf was selfless, confident, courageous, brave, and strong. Because of his strength presenting him to be larger than life, and all the outstanding selfless characteristics Beowulf has, the epic heroism stands out.…

    • 819 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Heroic Heroism In Beowulf

    • 1621 Words
    • 6 Pages

    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…

    • 1621 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Whether it be success or failure, Beowulf knew the outcome was subject to fate. Beowulf proved his loyalty to his men with self-sacrifice throughout the poem. Beowulf also later proved that he valued loyalty in his warriors and rewarded those who showed loyalty to him. Reputation remained a major theme throughout the poem. Anglo Saxons sought to be honored by all.…

    • 1095 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Beowulf’s courage at this moment shows that although he has “mortal wounds”, he is able to exemplify characteristics of being a loyal king. By leaving their king, the thanes do not realize that without a king, no one will protect them and their land. This will lead to Geatland becoming a bigger target. Instead, they should have stayed to help fight the dragon, ensuring their king would live to secure their safety. Regardless of the thanes’ disloyalty to their king, Beowulf still feels the responsibility of a king to protect them.…

    • 1050 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Beowulf is an epic poem that has captivated readers for centuries. It tells the story of Beowulf, the “heroes of all heroes” and savior of the Danes and Geats. Beowulf represents what a true hero should be, not just in his time, but throughout history. In contrast, Grendel, his mother and the dragon share characteristics that accurately portray them as villains. So it is only natural that conflict would arise between the virtuous hero and the dangerous villains that around him.…

    • 757 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics