Beowulf had plenty of courage, most men his age would have backed down and not fought, but Beowulf being the brave man he was, stood up in hopes to still protect his people. Beowulf is a courageous and strong hero because he shows all of the qualities and traits that a true hero should possess. His actions toward Grendel show that he is willing to help others. Beowulf defeats Grendel, his mother, and a dragon until seriously injured. Beowulf has all of the characteristics that are expected from a hero.
“Beowulf perceived his evil plan, sat up and stayed Grendel’s outstretched arm. Instantly that monster, hardened by crime, realized that never had he met any man in the regions of earth, in the whole world, with so strong a grip.” The author says that Beowulf’s strength is greater than that of any other man in the world. After Beowulf defeats the monster, Grendel, he is faced with another monster. Beowulf instead of just leaving decides to stay and destroy the new monster. Beowulf proves that not only is he strong but he is loyal and destroys the other monster.
The first thing that makes Beowulf an epic hero is his wisdom. In this epic poem Beowulf fight with many characters, that are bigger and stronger than him, but Beowulf wins all these battles through his wisdom. Most of the time Beowulf fights for glory, so he always looks for a battle to fight. That’s how he came to the fight with Grendel, who frightened the whole kingdom of Hrothgar. Many warriors tried to defeat Grendel, but they all failed and eaten my Grendel.
He attacks without any real provocation. When Hrothgar finds out that Beowulf has come to help him in his fight against Grendel, he says “Holy God of His Grace has sent him to us West-Danes, as I hope, against the terror of Grendel.” This sets the idea of good against evil. Beowulf will represent God and Grendel represents the devil. Beowulf strengthens this view with his decision to fight Grendel with out any weapons. He is willing to let the Lord decide who will win this battle – “The one whom death takes can trust the Lord’s judgement.” Beowulf is showing a lot of faith in this action.
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.
The Importance of Grendel and the Dragon in Beowulf “In my youth I engaged in many wars”, Beowulf boasts to his warriors, which is certainly true. Throughout his life, he faces many deadly foes, all of which he handily defeats, save one. His story focuses on the most challenging, as well as morally significant of foes, Grendel and the dragon. These creatures reveal much about society as well as Christian virtue at the time. Even after Grendel and the dragon are defeated physically, the two monsters pose a new threat to the hero on a higher plane.
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.
His defeat of the monster Grendel is where we first see his strength and it is also where we can really picture how unbelievable of a character he was. He mortally wounds Grendel, not with a sword, but with his own hands. In lines 273-278 the speaker says, “The shepherd of evil, the guardian of crime,/Knew at once that nowhere on earth/Had he met a man whose hands were harder;/His mind was flooded with fear-but nothing/Could take his talons from the tight/hard grip.” and this really shows how powerful Beowulf was. Grendel was an unstoppable monster who could rip people apart in seconds and yet Beowulf was able to capture and defeat him with only his hands. After defeating Grendel he faced Grendel 's mother, who was even stronger and more cunning, and what made this different was his use of a weapon that was made only for use by giants.
“No weapons, therefore, for either this night: unarmed he shall face me if face me he dares...And may the Divine Lord in His wisdom grant glory of victory to whichever side He sees fit.” ( L 683-687) Many would not dared to do what Beowulf is doing, but that’s why he is an epic hero. Beowulf then laid down and waited for the evil monster to come. Suddenly the demonic figure violently destroy the door and appeared in the mead hall. As many would have been scared, Beowulf overwhelming confidence and bravery left him unfazed by the monster presence. The battle between Beowulf and Grendel was intense but soon Beowulf would get the upper hand.
Beowulf showed his people that he was the person they could count on in times of trouble. There was a beast named Grendel that terrorizes the kingdom which Hrothgar rules. Beowulf wants to show that he is a hero and he also is fatalistic, which means that he believes in his battles if he dies or not he was meant to; that was his fate. This leads to, along with the fact that a great mead-hall wasn’t being used due to this monster, Beowulf setting foot to rid the Danes of this problem. Beowulf’s first sign of unmatchable courage comes in the fight with Grendel.