In today’s society when asked about heroes many would name contemporary heroes such as Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and many others, but early heroes are often overlooked. Early heroes are written about in many different societies including Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and Anglo-Saxon England. One early epic poem delineated by the Anglo-Saxon’s in the eighth century is Beowulf. Beowulf is the tragic hero of the story, and a temerarious Geatish warrior, who fights three battles. As can be seen through his fights with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon, Beowulf’s fights become progressively more difficult throughout the epic.
After arriving in Denmark, Beowulf fights his first and easiest battle against Grendel. Beowulf travels to Denmark to help Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, defeat Grendel who is ravaging the heorot, mead-hall, and killing men in their sleep. Beowulf is a paragon of the warriors because he is considered “the strongest man alive,” (154). Beowulf is pretending to sleep in the heorot, when Grendel reaches for him to kill him, but Beowulf grabs Grendel’s arm. “… [Grendel] realized that never had he met any man … with so strong a grip. He was seized with terror./But for all that, he was unable to break away,” (661-664). When Beowulf grabs Grendel’s arm, Grendel is terrified and panics to rip Beowulf’s arm off his own. Before Beowulf’s actions Grendel went unchallenged. Grendel fears for his life because of Beowulf’s strength and the surprise attack, and was desperate to escape. Beowulf squeezes Grendel’s hand so hard that, “he could feel his fingers cracking/in his adversary’s grip,” (673-674). During the battle, Beowulf could not use weapons to defeat Grendel, “... for he had wo...
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...the dragon. In his past battles Beowulf defeated Grendel and Grendel’s mother alone, but with the dragon Beowulf needed Wiglaf. The most demanding and challenging battle against the dragon ended with Beowulf’s demise.
In conclusion, Beowulf’s fights with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon are more arduous throughout the course of the epic poem. Beowulf easily defeats Grendel, and dies as a result of the dragon. Beowulf was an excellent warrior of his time as seen through his miraculous victories against Grendel and Grendel’s mother, but Beowulf was much too old and frail to fight the dragon. Beowulf found his glory during his time as a young warrior, and could not quit fighting until he was effaced and could no longer fight. Throughout literature, many other epic heroes are like Beowulf, and fight until there is no more fighting left or until they are dead.
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