The Fate of a Hero in Beowulf Essay

The Fate of a Hero in Beowulf Essay

Length: 1907 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Fate of a Hero
“For a brief while your strength is in bloom/ but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow/ illness or the sword to lay you low… and death will arrive, dear warrior, to sweep you away”(1761-8). Hrothgar bestows his wisdom onto Beowulf after Beowulf has defeated Grendel and his mother. Hrothgar reminds him not to let pride overcome him for everything is eventually defeated due to the power of fate. This exemplifies a theme woven throughout the story of Beowulf. Beowulf is presented as a valiant hero, slaying beasts with his mighty strength and demonstrating the importance of the balance between wisdom and strength, but as the story unfolds Beowulf slowly loses his vitality until eventually he is defeated. This shows the power of fate has on everyone; no exceptions. This paper will demonstrate the heroic qualities of Beowulf and show his gradual decline through the approaches and outcomes of his three battles with the monsters.
In the beginning of the story, Beowulf’s journey brings him to the land of the Danes where he is first intruded upon by a coast guard. Immediately upon seeing Beowulf the coast guard remarks on his impressive appearance. “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” (247-50). A warrior named Wulfgar, impressed by Beowulf and his men, delivers his request for passage into the land of Denmark from King of the Danes, Hrothgar. His family background and reputation are familiar to Hrothgar, and he eagerly welcomes them to Denmark. Wulfgar reports back to Beowulf, “My lord, the conquering king of Danes, bids me announce that he knows you ancestry: also that he welcomes you here to Herot…” (391-3). This scene shows the importance of appearance and reputation, without which Beowulf may never have been admitted to the land of the Danes at all.
Once he gains passage into Denmark, Beowulf talks with Hrothgar and his closest followers in the mead hall about how he will destroy this beast or die trying.
“I meant to perform to the uttermost what your people wanted or perish in the attempt, in the fiend’s clutches. And I shall fulfill that purpose, prove myself with a proud deed or meet my death here in the mead-hall” (634-8).
His speech to Hrothgar shows Beowulf’s courage and confidence in his abilities. He also chooses not use any weapons or ar...


... middle of paper ...


...e failed his people. His choice to conquer this dragon seems to be the obvious choice for a warrior. He must protect his people. But Beowulf seems so caught up in the surreal threats such as, monsters and dragons, he fails to realize the real peril he has left his people in. Beowulf is aware of his age and uneasy feeling toward his success yet he chooses to take on the dragon anyways. Although the dragon is defeated the Geat people are presented with even greater danger of the Sweds who will surely pounce on their nation.

Therefore, throughout the story Beowulf is presented as the ultimate hero; demonstrating the strength of thirty men in his grasp while also using his powerful insight to avoid unnecessary conflict. His surreal strength and wisdom allow Beowulf to accomplish great feats within his time. He not only saves the land of the Danes form the terrorizing monsters but serves and protects his own people as well. Despite his heroic qualities, his humanity is proven by showing his eventual downfall; expressing that even the greatest heroes cannot live forever. Beowulf’s heroic qualities can only hold him above the rest until fate takes its toll and he too becomes defeated.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Beowulf : The Epic Hero Essay example

- The Epic Hero Beowulf is characterized as an epic hero by possessing qualities in which common mortals lack, battling for the common good, and displaying honor in every act. An epic hero is the central character in an epic, a long narrative poem that recounts the adventures of a legendary hero in pursuit of a goal. According to Jankowski, “Understanding the significance of Beowulf 's acts requires an understanding of the key figures in the epic poem” (1). Epics have been used to preserve values and traditions....   [tags: Beowulf, Hero, Epic poetry, Hroðgar]

Powerful Essays
1048 words (3 pages)

Essay about Fate in Beowulf

- Fate in Beowulf A Twist of Fate for the Great Hero Beowulf Fate seems to be an ongoing theme in the works of Boethius and Beowulf. Whether it is a belief of Christian providence or pagan fatalism, the writers of these works are strongly moved by the concept of fate and how it affects the twists and turns of a person’s life. Fate is most often seen as the course of events in a person’s life that leads them to inevitable death at some time or another. Throughout the poem Beowulf, the characters are haunted by fate and acknowledge its strong presence in everything that they do....   [tags: Beowulf Fate Essays]

Powerful Essays
1477 words (4.2 pages)

Beowulf : An Epic Hero Essay

- Beowulf is an epic hero being the central character presenting himself as larger than life, showing high skills, courage, and virtue. Skill, courage, and virtue are shown as values by the Anglo-Saxons. An epic hero is the central character of an epic, a long narrative poem that recounts the adventures of a legendary hero in pursuit of a goal of national importance. All epics consist of an epic hero, a quest, valorous deeds, divine intervention, and great events. An epic hero is larger than life, typically born noble or semi-divine, and presents courage, skill and virtue against opposing, often evil, forces....   [tags: Beowulf, Hero, KILL, Beowulf]

Powerful Essays
1187 words (3.4 pages)

Beowulf : An Epic Hero Essay

- In the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, whose author is unknown, many qualities of an epic hero are located within the confines of the protagonist. The main character, known as Beowulf, travels to Denmark in order to earn infinite glory in his king’s name. Doing so, he embarks on multiple quests to achieve holiness in the surrounding lands of Sweden. While in Denmark, Beowulf exhibits many traits of an Anglo-Saxon hero through his achievements in battle. During the course epic poem, Beowulf actions exemplify qualities of leadership, superhuman strength, and immense courage....   [tags: Beowulf, Hero, Epic poetry, Leadership]

Powerful Essays
1010 words (2.9 pages)

Beowulf : A True Hero Essay

- A true hero has no fear. A hero would risk himself for what he believes to be right and to protect others. I think of someone who, in my opinion of others, has heroic traits or has performed a brave act and is regarded as a representation or ideal is a hero. Heros always have people to look up to him and will always excel when the going gets treacherous. Beowulf is a good example of a hero, because he stared terror in his eyes and saved his land many of times. Beowulf additionally showed bravery, strength, and leadership because he was definite that he would defeat Grendel....   [tags: Beowulf, Grendel, Hero, Grendel's mother]

Powerful Essays
1164 words (3.3 pages)

Beowulf Essay - Heroism And Bravery

- Heroism and Bravery in Beowulf The arrangement in the novel Beowulf concentrates on the main character "Beowulf". Beowulf 's magnanimity to secure his people and the land can be seen all through the book. Even though the poem has an intense tone, where the old days of the kingdom have now been replaced by weakness, Beowulf develops as a hero in the piece. In this way, his demonstrations bring out the fundamental topics of bravery and heroism all through the book. Among the warriors portrayed in the poem, Beowulf rises as the most heroic....   [tags: Beowulf, Grendel, Hero, Grendel's mother]

Powerful Essays
1159 words (3.3 pages)

The Heroic Journey Of Beowulf Essay

- A hero’s journey begins with an epic tale of bravery and achievements. The journey of any hero starts with the hero himself conveying to the audience that he or she possesses noble qualities. Beowulf shows many examples of heroism through characteristics such as, heritage physical strength, and leadership. Beowulf stood strong against the most daring evils and quests within the story and this is just one of the many characteristics this legendary hero possessed. The story of Beowulf explained that he had royal blood from his father, who was a king, and that he also contained the strength of 30 men in each play of his hand....   [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Leadership, Hero]

Powerful Essays
1077 words (3.1 pages)

Beowulf : An Epic Hero Of His Time Essay

- What is a hero to you. Your definition of a hero is likely to be different from a lot of other people’s. For some it could be a parent, a community hero, such as a fire fighter or police officer, or even just a regular person that you find to be heroic. For the time of Beowulf, A hero was somebody that held amazing attributes that made them superior. Such as, having super strength. Beowulf is a man of legend that lives in the form of a myth that has been told for thousands of years. His story tells of how he conquers an evil that had become peril to many lives in a land that he was not his own....   [tags: Hero, Beowulf, Superhuman, Superhuman strength]

Powerful Essays
1471 words (4.2 pages)

Beowulf is an Epic Hero Essay

- 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....   [tags: The Epic of Beowulf]

Powerful Essays
951 words (2.7 pages)

Symbolism Of ' Beowulf ' Essay

- Maliea Faison Symbolism: Found Even in Monsters Glory for one’s King, Glory for one’s ancestors, Glory for one’s tribe, Glory for one’s self. These are the noble qualities only certain epic knights condone. Throughout the oldest surviving epic poem, Beowulf an Anglo-Saxon piece of literature, the courageous warrior Beowulf, hero of the Geats, embodies these heroic characteristics as the defender gallantly volunteers to aid King Hrothgar defeating not one or two, but three heinous creatures with honor....   [tags: Beowulf, Hero, Beowulf, Grendel]

Powerful Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)