Beowulf’s story is somewhat of an allegory in which he is depicted as the Christ figure. The theme of Beowulf is a contrast of good and evil which is manifest in both Christian and pagan elements; Beowulf represents good, while Grendel, his mother, and the dragon represent evil. The first monster our hero, Beowulf, faces is Grendel. Grendel is said to be a descendant of Cain. “Unhappy creature (Grendel), he lived for a time in the home of the monsters’ race, after God had condemned them as kin of Cain” (Norton, 28).
Against Grendel’s mother, original sin, Beowulf becomes the Christian soldier. When Beowulf struggles against Grendel’s mother, God grants him a precious gift: “The Wielder of Men granted me that I should see hanging on the wall a fair, ancient, great-sword – most often He has guided the man without friends – that I should wield the weapon” (Norton, 48). This great sword is further described as “a victory-blessed blade, an old sword made by the giants… the work of giants” (Norton, 47). The sword used to slay Grendel’s mother is work of her ancestral giants, who were godly until they fell from grace. “From (Cain) sprang all bad breeds, trolls and elves and monsters – likewise the giants who for a long time strove with God” (Norton, 28).
Although the main characters in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight exhibit many of the same characteristics, the two poems have stylistic differences and differ in societal values. Written before the tenth century A.D., Beowulf is the oldest surviving English work. It was believed to be composed orally between seven hundred A.D. and nine hundred A.D. and written down by monks in Old English by one thousand A.D. Beowulf tells the story of a Scandinavian warrior and his quest to help a neighboring kingdom. In the epic, the monster Grendel has been terrorizing Hrothgar’s kingdom each night. Beowulf hears about the trouble and gathers a group of men and sails to Denmark determined to defeat Grendel.
Beowulf is a classic tale of the triumph of good over evil, and divides neatly into three acts. The poem opens in Denmark, where Grendel is terrorising the kingdom. The Geatish prince Beowulf hears of his neighbours’ plight, and sails to their aid with a band of warriors. Beowulf encounters Grendel in unarmed combat, and deals the monster its death-blow by ripping off its arm. An epic hero is someone whom many people have heard of but, yet, many do not know what defines one.
Beowulf In the Anglo-Saxon epic poem of Beowulf, Beowulf is highly regarded as an epic hero; the poem itself is consisted of songs of glorification about him. During his era, Beowulf was very famous amongst his own people and others due to the fact that he has achieved great things. He has travelled and gone through many adventures which has greatly boosted his fame across the land. His character and personality, along with his great strength, has made him into an epic hero. Beowulf was a character that was given or blessed by the gods to the people during his time to be a saviour against evil and to become a just ruler.
It tells the story of a brave hero who fights for what he believes by battling terrifying creatures. The author or authors of Beowulf is unknown and historians say the epic poem was written over a long period of time. During this time, the religion of Scandinavia changed from Paganism to Christianity. The shift in the beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon people from Pagan to Christian becomes apparent when describing the monsters, the battles between good and evil, and even when Beowulf dies. Literary works such as the Inferno and
Beowulf has all of the characteristics that are expected from a hero. I definitely consider Beowulf being a hero because there are no other men who could accomplish all of the things that he did. He is a hero for many reasons, his bravery, generosity, strength, and power.
Throughout the poem, Beowulf accomplishes feats that no other man would be able to survive and proves his boundless might. Beowulf is described to Hrothgar, king of the Danes, by a messenger as "...a mighty warrior, powerful and wise" (line 370). Beowulf himself challenges the insults of Unferth by saying, "...no strength is a match for mine" (line 534). Also, Beowulf tells Hrothgar and his company of a time when he had to face several sea monsters in the dark by himself, and still managed to kill them and swim to shore: ...nine was the number Of sea-huge monsters I killed. What man, Anywhere under Heaven's high arch, has fought In such darkness, endur...
Beowulf and Sir Gawain – True Heroes Heroes come in many forms. The construction of "the heroic" has taken many forms, yet traits such as: courage, honor, and loyalty, reappear as themes throughout the "hero" personality. The characters of Beowulf and Sir Gawain each represent a version of a hero, yet each comes across quite differently in their story. A hero can be said to truly win if he remains constant to his noble values when put in any situation that crosses his way. When measured by that criterion, Sir Gawain stands out above Beowulf as a true hero, due to his command of both personal and spiritual power through the use of thought, as well as valiant deeds.
Sir Gawain is a protagonist or a main hero in the earlier Arthurian legends, but he is often included in later stories of the fifteenth century as a confidant or a secondary character. For example in Morte Darthur, by Sir Thomas Malory, Gawain is a secondary character, and the main hero is Sir Lancelot. In the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight written by an anonymous author, we are given a description of Sir Gawain's appearance, as he is preparing to go on a quest to find the Green Knight and complete the yearlong beheading game (Norton, 215). His armor, clothing and horse all suggest that he is not a poor knight. His helmet is decorated with gems and embroidered with parrots and turtledoves; his shield has image of Virgin Mary on the inside and an "endless knot"(Norton, 215) or a pentangle on the outside.