Beowulf Defines the Hero

Beowulf Defines the Hero

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Beowulf Defines the Hero

 

      In epics, the main character is usually a hero. This is a person who

expresses courage and superhuman strength. These people are recognized as the

epitome of all people in this time. In Anglo-Saxon literature the role of a hero

is to protect good.

 

      There were many great pieces of literature during Anglo-Saxon times.

Perhaps one of the best was Beowolf. In this story the main character is Beowolf,

a man who protects the Herot from a terrible monster, and later on in his life

protects his own castle. Beowolf is a hero who represents good in this story.

 

      During Beowolfs time people spoke very highly of heroes. An example from

the story of Beowolf protecting good is when the king is speaking of him. He

says of Beowolf, "Until that curving prow carries/Across the sea to Geatland a

chosen/warrior who bravely does battle with the/creature haunting our people,

who survives/that horror unhurt, and goes home bearing/our love."(208-212) The

king speaks of Beowolf as a great hero and hopes that he will be able to defeat

Grendel, the monster that has been terrorizing Herot.

 

      Before his confrontation with Grendel, he did many other things to

assist his people. An example of him doing this is when he speaks of himself

killing the giants and wiping them off the earth. He says, "They have seen my

strength for themselves,/have watched me rise from the darkness/of war, dripping

of my enemies' blood/I drove five great giants into chairs, chased/all of that

race from the Earth." (246-250) Beowolf proves his strength to others and to

himself.

 

     In his fight with Grendels' mother Beowolf proves many things. An example

of Beowolfs heroism is when he is battling her. "That mighty protector of

men/meant to hold the monster 'till its life/leaped out ..." (366-367) Beowolf

is described as the "protector" of his people and proves this by defeating

Grendels' mother. She had recently killed a close friend of the king in defiance

to the slaying of her son. To prevent further killing, Beowolf went to an arena

under a lake and destroyed her.

 

      Later on in his life he kills a fire-breathing dragon because he wants

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to protect his kingdom. He was king for over 40 years and had done all he could

to protect his kingdom.

 

      Beowolfs best asset is his strength. He uses his superhuman power to

defeat any monster that stands in his way. He also possesses great courage,

which allows him to face great dangers and peril, where other warriors would

turn and go the other way.

 

      The reasons for Beowolf helping his people are simple, fame and fortune.

Grendel is loved by his people and collects great treasures from his battles.

However, Beowolf is most admired because he is a hero and protects anyone in

need. That is why Beowolf represents the hero portrayed in epics, as well as

Anglo-Saxon literature.
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