Epic Hero

May 8, 2020 by Essay Writer

Is fame or glory the only significance in life? During the Anglo-Saxon period, it is common to seek fame because it is alleged to be the utmost accomplishment possible for someone. Fame means that immortality could be attained and that is extremely important. In the poem Beowulf, the character Beowulf illustrates an ideal example of the desire to achieve fame. Beowulf is a young adventurer eager for fame and is also classified as an epic hero. An epic hero is someone who is on a quest, risks his or her life for glory or fame, and embodies the ideals or values of his or her culture. Clearly Beowulf possesses all of these essentials of an epic hero throughout the poem. One of the essentials that Beowulf possesses is the unquenchable desire for a quest. Beowulf is measured as an immense quest seeker by rapidly taking the initiative to accept the first mission to kill Grendel just by “[hearing] how Grendel filled the nights with horror” (112). Grendel is a horrifying bayou creature of massive size that goes around slaying people from Herot. In spite of hearing Grendel’s appearance and actions, it does not intimidate Beowulf because the challenge is graciously accepted Immediately, after hearing about the events that occurred, Beowulf swiftly reacts to the situation by accepting an additional quest. These are just some of the signs that verify Beowulf as a true epic hero. Another sign that verifies Beowulf as a true epic hero is the role of a risk taker. By acquiring various quests, involves an enormous amount of risk or danger. Beowulf certainly experiences a great deal of risk throughout the battles. For example, Beowulf arrives at the lake preparing to fight Grendel’s mother without a clue of any sudden events that may occur: “Beowulf, anxious to take part in battle, leaps into the lake without waiting for anyone’s assistance. While Beowulf is in the lake for hours, the water exceeds its normal height until at last Beowulf arrives at the muddy bottom” (466-470). Beowulf has no idea of what might be in the lake waiting. It could have been a trap just to get Beowulf down there to be killed. But Beowulf took a vast risk and moves down to slaughter Grendel’s mother and comes out victorious. Also, proof that classifies Beowulf as a risk taker is when the last battle is accepted. Beowulf receives honors and rules Geatland for fifty years peacefully, until a dragon menaces the kingdom. Although Beowulf is an older man, determination increases the drive to accept the battle and slay the beast. the epic poem, “Beowulf”, describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly nvincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of a hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters hideous monsters and the most ferocious of beasts, but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are superb and he is even able to boast about all his achievements. Beowulf is the ultimate epic hero who risks his life countless times for immortal glory and for the good of others. Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. In his argument with Unferth, Beowulf explains the reason he “lost” a simple swimming match with his youthful opponent Brecca. Not only had Beowulf been swimming for seven nights, he had also stopped to kill nine sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. Beowulf is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel’s mother, who is eeking revenge on her son’s death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster’s neck with a Giant’s sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall. This strength is a key trait of Beowulf’s heroism. Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his peoples welfare before his own. Beowulf’s uncle is king of the Geats, so he is sent as an emissary to help rid the Danes of the evil Grendel. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking help from no one. He realizes the dangers, but fears nothing for his own life. After Beowulf had served his people as King of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon who is frightening all of his people. Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon in order to protect his people. Even in death he wished to secure safety for the Geats, so a tall lighthouse is built in order to help the people find their way back from sea.

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