Beowulf, physically and emotionally, is representative of the Germanic ideal hero. Beowulf is ?brave? (688), honest, and strong. One of the first scenes in the poem describes Beowulf?s arrival on the beach of a foreign land. Instead of fearing the large warrior that has arrived and summoning for help, the ?watchman? (229) is in awe of Beowulf. Before even getting to know Beowulf, the watchman thinks that this warrior is one of the strongest and noblest men he has ever seen: ?Nor have I seen/a mightier man-at-arms on this earth/than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken,/he is truly noble? (247-250). Therefore, Beowulf?s towering height and stature convince others that he is a hero. Like the typical hero, Beowulf gives boasts. While in Hrothgar?s kingdom, Beowulf defends himself against the kin-killer Unferth; Beowulf brags that he will kill Gren...
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...on. It is obvious that the singer will have no place in the future because the text ends with a war and with its heroes fading away. This end of heroism and of orality is suggested by the last singer in the text; during Beowulf?s funeral, a woman cries instead of singing, implying that there will never be a happy song about heroes again: ?A Geat woman too sang out in grief? (3150).
The epic poem Beowulf centers around the hero. From the character of Beowulf, the reader can see the importance of community, orality, and heroism. Beowulf, as a result, is an icon of his ancient Germanic heritage. He is mimetic of the world around him. In addition, he reflects the past?s tradition of heroes; he follows in Shield and Sigemund?s footsteps, mirroring their characteristics and actions. Thus, when Beowulf passes on, both the ancient world and the new world collapse.
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