Essay on Beowulf : The Epic Hero

Essay on Beowulf : The Epic Hero

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Beowulf: The Epic Hero
Throughout time, society has come in contact with individuals who are praised due to their bravery, loyalty, strength and a tendency to go beyond the limit. One may call this individual a hero, and if asked to give some examples of heroism, one may pick the classical literary hero Beowulf. According to Roger B. Rolling, Beowulf is classified as a Type I hero who, “if superior in degree to other men but not to his natural environment, … is a leader. He has authority, passions, and powers of expression far greater than ours but is subject both to social criticism and to the order of nature” (434). Beowulf’s heroism is exemplified first when he kills Grendel, then when he kills Grendel’s mother, and finally when he kills the Dragon. Also, Beowulf shows all of the characteristics and traits that a true hero possesses, such as honor, bravery, strength, loyalty, and risking his own life to save the people from Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the Dragon.
In the beginning of the poem Beowulf, Grendel, who is a descendent of Cain, starts attacking King Hrothgar’s mead hall and starts killing as many of King Hrothgar’s men as he can. According to Henry Bosley Woolf, “News of the evil wrought among the Danes by Grendel is carried across the seas” (86). When Beowulf, who is in his home in the land of Geatland, hears about the tragic attack that Grendel has caused the Danes, he announces his plan to sail to Heorot and help King Hrothgar with Grendel (Beowulf 45). Beowulf, by helping King Hrothgar, is showing great signs of honor because Beowulf feels as if it was the right thing to do since he had been successful in his past deeds. In return, Beowulf expects no reward for his action but rather just being able to put anoth...


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... he passes the throne to Wiglaf and gives thanks to God for the treasure they receive from the Dragon’s hoard. This ends Beowulf’s third and final heroic battle in this case with the Dragon.
To conclude, society adores heroes. Beowulf’s character demonstrates bravery, loyalty, strength, and a tendency to go beyond the limitations of the ordinary human being. Beowulf’s heroism is exemplified first when he sails to Heorot and helps King Hrothgar kill Grendel by tearing off his arm. Secondly, when he goes up against Grendel’s mother, Beowulf takes a heavy sword striking her with it causing a blow to her neck-bone, which causes her death. Lastly, engaging in combat with the Dragon, causes Beowulf to deliver a deathblow to the Dragon with the aid of Wiglaf. By definition every fight that Beowulf has fought in shows that he has definitely earned the title of an epic hero.

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