Beowulf is an Epic Hero

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In the epic poem Beowulf, the protagonist Beowulf is shown as a hero with extrodinary strength. This is not what makes him a hero. By definition, a hero is a man of exceptional quality. However this term does not do Beowulf justice. His self-imposed purpose in life is to help others, and eventually sacrifices his own life in doing so. Beowulf’s battle with the dragon serves as a critique of the notion that Beowulf is a hero. The Dragon section displays many of Beowulf’s heoric characteristics. Beowulf establishes himself as a hero by fighting the dragon, exemplifing strength and courage when fighting the dragon, and sacrificing himself so that others can live.

Beowulf’s fight against the dragon shows Beowulf as a hero. Although Beowulf had previously defeated two other foes, he stands fast and fights his most formidable foe yet, the dragon. Dragons were notoriously difficult to kill, and the poem states that it was a great man, who could kill a dragon, even if it meant losing one's life. While others cower away Beowulf fights the dragon. Beowulf defeats the dragon but loses his life in the same instance. Like the classical hero Beowulf loses his special status in death. Beowulf sought no compensation for his services; the mere satisfaction of helping others was pay enough. Like his two previous battles Beowulf fights for those who could not fight for themselves.

While fighting the Dragon Beowulf shows feats of strength and courage that define him as a hero. The classical...

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