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.
This book is composed of four main characteristics: fame, kingship, fate, and God, which play very important roles throughout the book. In Beowulf the Anglo-Saxons longed for fame. To them fame meant immortality. For example, the narrator says, "But Beowulf longing only for fame, leaped into battle" (Raffel 1529). To Beowulf the only reason to risk his life is a battle, is so he can have his moments of fame, hence immortality.
Even though Beowulf is quite the hero, he is also illustrated as being extremely prideful. During the Anglo-Saxon period, character traits that were most common for a hero is a rather egoistical and boastful which Beowulf has. He is more interested in his honor as a hero that he is even willing to take on any task without a real fear of death. The poem explores his heroism in two separate phases, the younger Beowulf and the older one, and through three different, but increasingly difficult conflicts with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. These time periods in his life, correlated with two contrasting standards of integrity.
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 does not slay the monster to protect his people, despite the fact that this was a direct result of the battle. According to Florman, “The quest for fame is of the utmost importance to a warrior trying to establish himself in the world.” (Florman) It is due to a prideful heart and a thirst for fame that Beowulf defeats
Among the warriors portrayed in the poem, Beowulf rises as the most heroic. Beowulf is considered a "hero" of the story because he does everything he can for his people. He also fought off Grendel and stopped the monster from killing anymore of Hrothgar’s men. In doing so it showed
Heroes always die a glorious death. Beowulf felt that in order for him to be remembered for the rest of time he needed to not only defeat Grendel and Grendel’s mother alone, but also defeat a Dragon flying into a certain death, solo. Beowulf was out to prove himself a strong, witty, brave warrior and he did indeed succeed. Additionally, he succeeded in feeding to his insecurities by boasting about his epic deeds. Beowulf will be known in the land of the Danes and the Geats as an epic hero for all time, even though Beowulf came to their rescue and aid for purely selfish reasons.
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.
A true hero does not fear death or, but instead risks all that he is for what he believes to be right, moral, and just. Beowulf is an epic and tells the story of a legendary hero, conquering all obstacles as if he was immortal. Up until the end of Beowulf’s life he was constantly looking to be the hero. However, his humanity is exposed by his death. Heroes all share the characteristic of their willingness to die in their effort to accomplish their heroic act, thus making the act in itself heroic.
As is with Beowulf, he is known throughout the lands. His fame helped him tremendously in becoming this hero. His courageous fights and accomplishments led to his known defeats in battle with huge and fierce monsters. After his death, his people promised him a tumulus to be built in his memory so he could be remembered. Not only did his people hear his request, but they honored it as well.