The Hero Beowulf It is very common that a favorite tale told to a small child before he goes to sleep is actually a great epic story that has lived on for many centuries. The tale of Beowulf is just that. Beowulf was written during the Anglo-Saxon era, when heroic deeds and loyalty to one’s leader were traits of a person that lived on forever, by means of poets and writers. Beowulf tells the story of a hero: one that faces many great battles with many great enemies, conquering one after the next only to finally face his death, in his battle against the dragon. Up until the end of Beowulf’s life he was constantly looking to be the hero.
Therefore, when fighting against all three monsters, Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, and the dragon at the end of his well-known life, he strives to keep that reputation. By fighting each one of these battles his reputation grows, he becomes better known for the kindness and strength he has to battle these monstrous creatures. Another contributor to his good reputation is the fact that he did this for people he didn’t even know. This proves him to be a good man, and people think highly of him because of it. Also, when going to speak to the Dane’s great lord, Beowulf explains his reputation with his people on page 47, lines 246-248, “They have seen my strength for themselves, have watched me rise from the darkness of war, dripping with my enemies’ blood.” This shows that Beowulf has a reputation with his people, that they know what he is capable of and have seen him in battles.
Beowulf is a hero as well as a great, and honorable, warrior. After fighting and winning many battles, Beowulf's life enters a new stage when he finally becomes king of his homeland, Geatland. Even in his old age, his code of honor still obligates him to fight against an evil, fiery dragon. For fifty years he has governed his kingdom well. While Beowulf is governing, the dragon "...kept watch over a hoard, a steep stone-barrow" (Norton 55).
The definition of an epic hero is a hero who possesses qualities that mortals lack. They have unwavering bravery, extreme intelligence, strength, fine-tuned skills, and a passionate drive (Jankowski, Why Beowulf Is an Epic Hero). Beowulf displays his bravery numerous times throughout the poem, from the very beginning when he elected to help Hrothgar with Grendel all the way to the very end when he fought the dragon to defend Geatland. Beowulf’s intelligence comes out while he’s in battle. While his opponents were all monsters who were angry and greedy, Beowulf was calm and wise.
One similarity is that in both fights, Beowulf received aid from others. In the fight with Grendel, as mentioned before, Beowulf’s men had assisted him, leading them to victory. For the fight with the Dragon, Beowulf had aid from Wiglaf. “Next thing, they say, the noble son of Weohstan / saw the king in danger at his side / and displayed his inborn bravery and strength” (2694-2696). Wiglaf is the only warrior that stays and actually fights alongside Beowulf.
For those not acquainted with the story of Beowulf, he was said to be the strongest man ever to live, and given this he was fated according to their beliefs to accomplish certain things in his life. Some of these things being to be slaying of great monsters and winning of great wars. And thus that is what he did as he progressed through life. The epic is rather brief in terms of what an epic normally is, but, in this time he manages to travel to a distant land, and slay a monster that has taken over that land, and then after that feat he of course makes that monsters mother mad, you know you can do something to someone without making dear old mom mad. So, then Beowulf must kill the mother and then after they are both sent into hell, the land is free of tyranny and injustice Beowulf returns home a hero.
Beowulf is truly an epic hero, because of his wisdom, strength and bravery. These characteristics keep him set apart from all other character. He would take any risk to defeat his enemy and to gain glory. Even when he dies, he defeated his opponent and gained more glory to his name. In Beowulf, there are series of battles centered around the heroic figure Beowulf, who is an epic hero.
By understanding what defines a hero it is a simple matter to comprehend why Beowulf is considered by some to be the greatest of all. He posses unfaltering loyalty to his king and allies, and save for his final battle his thanes show the same devotion to him. His strength is unparalleled, as he is able to defeat each of his opponents and perform feats of unmatched endurance. Beowulf’s courage, though motivated primarily by his own notion of fate, is, none the less, unwavering. And as a hero he achieved his desire for immortality through the poem itself.
The Role of Wiglaf in Beowulf Seemingly minor character Wiglaf plays a central role in the conclusion of Beowulf. A young knight who has never before seen battle, Wiglaf steps forward to help his lord, hero, and cousin Beowulf in a time of peril. With his failure in battle and resulting death, the narrator shows that Beowulf is, after all, a prideful and mortal being; thus begins the transfer of heroic status from the old king to the young knight. The narrator argues that Wiglaf is worthy of his abruptly acquired status even though his intentions may seem questionable. The end of the poem devotes a significant amount of lines to dialogue spoken by Wiglaf, signifying his newly crucial role in his kingdom and in the story.
While fighting the Dragon Beowulf shows feats of strength and courage that define him as a hero. The classical hero displays a special quality that separates him from the rest of Moss 2 society. In Beowulf, Beowulf shows extraordinary courage and strength that gives him special status. This notion is shown, when Beowulf fights Grendel and Grendel’s mother, but it is especially noticeable when he fights the dragon. When Beowulf fought Grendel others had the courage to attempt to fight him.