Beowulf as an Epic

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The epic of Beowulf has three heroic figures. Hrothgar, Beowulf and Wiglaf all become heroes in the story after a feat of strength and bravery transports their name across the land. A hero can only seem to claim the title once the prior hero has passed to the afterlife, as if the previous hero’s existence somehow casts a shadow upon their own. To become a hero each warrior must first prove themselves on the field of battle. Hrothgar, presented in the beginning, is the first and oldest, his heroic exploits are mentioned briefly. However the result of his exploits, his troop of men and Herot, are an overwhelming testament to his power; they are still present after 12 years of torture. Beowulf’s heroic feats make up the epic itself; his fight with Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon each depict his strength and heroic potential throughout the tale. These battles are a testament to his strength and competence as a warrior. Finally, Wiglaf is presented at the very end as Beowulf’s sole aid in the fight against the dragon. The fame each hero accumulates as a result of the life that they lead, justifies their claim to the title of hero. While in the beginning the differences between the three men seem vast, with each battle the similarities between the heroes grow and their bonds as heroes.
The heroes for the majority of the story do not appear to be similar in anyway except that they are nobles; in the beginning they seem to be opposites. Hrothgar is the King of the Danes; he resides in the most magnificent mead-hall ever created Herot, full of trophies and treasures from his plunders. He is the first hero depicted in the story, Hrothgar is old by the time Beowulf meets him, well past his prime. This is also the same difference ...

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... troop, conquering different lands spreading his name, increasing his fame. Eventually the heroes name and greatness is known throughout the land and his reputation becomes protection against other countries. Hrothgar’s accomplishments in battle; Beowulf exploits in conquering the surrounding lands and bravery when facing the two grotesque monsters; also, Wiglaf’s bravery in his fight against the dragon, earned them the title of hero in the tale. The mantle is not passed through blood or between clans, but through acts of strength, eternal glory and bravery. Beowulf and Wiglaf were both young and inexperienced warriors fighting selflessly to save another; conquering the beasts thus beginning their journey to become heroes. Hrothgar the great warrior, Beowulf the old guardian and Wiglaf the brave each gave their lives to the hero’s mantle, to protect what they loved.
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