Beowulf, an Epic Hero

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An epic hero is defined as a larger than life hero who embodies the values of a particular society. Commonly epic heroes have superior strength, have strong love for their people, are fearless of death, and are very ethical people. The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of an epic hero. Beowulf is a perfect example of an epic hero who is a representative of his time because of his super-human strength, his strong love for the people, his fearless of death, and his ethical personality including his strong moral characteristics common of his time. It is obvious that Beowulf has super-human strength because he kills Grendel with his own bare hands. Grendel had been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years and none of them could defeat Grenadel with weapons! During the battle with Grendel, Grendel notices Beowulf’s extraordinary strength: “[Grendel] Knew at once that nowhere on earth Had he 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” (p. 33, 433-437). To proclaim his victory and triumph over evil, Continue...

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Later, Beowulf goes on to kill the Grendel's mother, who is even more viscous than Grenadel. Take what I leave, Wiglaf, lead my people, Help them; my time is gone (p. Beowulf is a moral and is a representative of his times throughout the story. After Beowulf served his people as King of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon that is scaring all of his people. Beowulf wanted fame and success, and he knew how to achieve it. Whenever his leader or even his people asked him to do something, whether it was to help the Danes or rid the town of a dragon, he did it. He was larger than life and an upholder of common morals particular to his society; and it is through loyalty, courage, and strength that Beowulf assured himself the position of the most heroic man of Anglo-Saxon time. "Let me live in greatness and courage, or here in this hall welcome my death" (p. He did go into a battle to lose, he went in to win. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking help from no one. Beowulf then goes on to explain the reason he lost a simple swimming match with his youthful opponent Brecca. He was going to win or die trying! In the last battle when he is fatally injured he still stands and awaits his death.


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