Essay on The Heroic Code Of Beowulf

Essay on The Heroic Code Of Beowulf

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An epic is a long poem, usually derived from ancient oral stories, describing the adventures and deeds of a legendary hero. Typically, most epics follow a pattern or hold certain characteristics. These characteristics are; a hero, a quest, valorous deeds, divine intervention, and great events. The hero is usually the protagonist which is sent on a quest. As the heroes proceed on their quest, they will exhibit valorous deeds or actions that show their magnificent abilities. Epics also intertwine great events to set the theme of the story. Some of these events develop from myths or cultural aspects. Lastly, the hero must undergo divine intervention, or the help from a person or supernatural force. One of the most well known Anglo-Saxon epics is Beowulf. The story of Beowulf contains all of these characteristics, along with the values of the Anglo-Saxons.

The values of the Anglo-Saxons can best be described as The Heroic Code. This Code of Honor was the ruleset every warrior was to follow. The warriors were to be brave, honorable, truthful, and loyal. Beowulf perfectly exhibits these values, making him a great example of an epic hero.

The poem starts off with the introduction of Grendel, a beast originating from the cursed family of Cain and Abel. Because he is an abomination that has been exiled from man by God, Grendel lives in the darkness. He constantly hears the sounds of celebration coming from the mead hall full of warriors causing him to cringe. The demon waits till darkness has fallen, then he strikes on the slumbering soldiers. He slaughters thirteen men and takes them to his lair, leaving a trail of blood from behind. In the morning Hrothgar, the warriors’ lord, mourns over his lost men. Grendel continues to at...


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...In honor of him, he stays and takes up arms. Together, Wiglaf and Beowulf slay the dragon, but the king is severely wounded. However, he asks Wiglaf to bring him the dragon’s spoils. When Wiglaf returns, he tells him that he is now in reign of his people and the treasure should be used as a memorial for himself. The great warrior passes, and his men build the tower just as he requested. The warriors then tell their favorite stories about Beowulf, mourning his loss, and stating that no better king has ever lived.

Beowulf devoted his whole life to those in need. He showed no mercy against any that opposed him. He died doing what he did best; defending his people. The memorial that was left in honor of him will forever remind those of his honor, bravery, courage, and loyalty. All of which prove his status as an epic hero and a symbol of the Anglo-Saxon traits.




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