The epic poem Beowulf contains contradictions about the heroic character of the protagonist Beowulf. Two certain passages in Beowulf, one at the beginning of the text and one near the end, offer evidence of inconsistencies within Beowulf 's character. We must ask one question of the poem 's protagonist: Is he really the hero he claims to be? Certain aspects of Beowulf 's integrity, mainly his lies about people 's perceptions of him, contradict the conventional classification of a hero.
The legend of Beowulf begins with King Hrothgar, who is in a dilemma because Grendel, an evil monster, has been unremittingly attacking Heorot for twelve years. Beowulf, a warrior and thane of the Geat King Hygelac, hears of this and decides that he must go …show more content…
Evidence of the true sentiments toward Beowulf from his kin can be seen when the poet writes "he had been poorly regarded for a long time, was taken by the Geats for less than he was worth: and their lord too had never much esteemed him in the mead-hall"(2183-2186). This sentence explains that Beowulf was not held in such high esteem as he would have liked. His decision to go to Heorot is an attempt to assert his worth to his family and people because they "firmly believed he lacked force, that the prince was a weakling [...]"(2187-88). Beowulf, who holds Hygelac in high regard, wants to defeat Grendel to make Hygelac proud.
If Beowulf is a weakling, how is it that he was the only one able to fight and defeat the indestructible Grendel? Beowulf somehow knows that it is his destiny to defeat Grendel, which may be the true reason for "abruptly" deciding to travel to Heorot. For twelve years, no one in Heorot could stop Grendel. They tried time and again to kill him by using any kind of weaponry they could forge. How is it that a newly arrived foreigner defeat Grendel without any armor or weapons? It must be because God had helped the "hero." This is apparent in Beowulf 's many references to God: "Whichever one death fells must deem it a just judgment by God" (440-41) and "the Geat placed complete trust in his strength of limb in the Lord 's favor" (669-670).
The Oxford English dictionary defines a hero as "a man distinguished by extraordinary valour and
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He came to Hrothgar to offer his service because Hrothgar provided help to Beowulf's father. It is loyalty and appreciation that leads Beowulf to the Danish kingdom to help out. Hrothgar welcomes Beowulf, saying, "Beowulf, you've come to us in friendship, and because of the reception your father found at court" (Beowulf 39). Because of Hrothgar's intervention, there was peace between the Geats and the Danes, therefore ensuring the loyalty of Beowulf's family. Beowulf’s sense of loyalty is recognized when he speaks to Wealtheow, Hrothgar's queen, about his motives for coming to the court. “I had a fixed purpose when I put to sea. As I sat in the boat with my band of men, 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” (Beowulf 632-638). Beowulf shows that his loyalty is with the king and the Danes, and he is willing to die in the process of trying to save them.
Hrothgar, the king of the Danes is faced with the issue of a horrible monster, Grendel tearing apart his soldiers and causing bloodshed. This is where Beowulf comes along, he is prepared with his men to defeat this monster and when the time comes Beowulf is more than ready to face him. Beowulf
Throughout all the battles he is fighting, and the outcomes of them. Beowulf shows he is courageous, has strength, and is honorable. Beowulf demonstrates these characteristics of an archetypal epic hero, In the epic poem “Beowulf”.
Beowulf first task on his path to gain glory is to defeat the merciless monster Grendel, who haunts Heorot for twelve long winters. If he wins this battle, he does not only gain glory and respect for himself, but also for his king and clan. He exhibits all the great qualities of a person and has a lot of esteem and admiration for his king Hygelac. One of the ways we can show Beowulf’s loyalty to Hygelac is when Beowulf explains to Hrothgar how he was going to fight Grendel “I have heard moreover that
Beowulf: A New Telling by Robert Nye is about a character named Beowulf who has to fight evil by using strength, but by also using cleverness. Beowulf’s name means “bee hunter” and Beowulf loved bees. In the story a hall is built it is called Hall Heorot. “By day it towered above men’s heads like a second sun, so bright were it’s walls and roofs”(p. 5). Once the hall is made, a monster comes and eats people at night.
Beowulf’s strength is beyond any of human comparison and has allowed him to accomplish tasks that would have obliterated lesser men and gain renown throughout the world. Beowulf’s boasts of his strength are not to be received as prideful or egotistical but rather as a true representation of his power as Beowulf always fulfils his boasts. When Beowulf pledges to vanquish Grendel, he does not take it lightly and tells Hrothgar and his wife, Wealhtheow, that “..I shall fulfil that purpose, prove myself with a proud victory or meet my death here in the mead-hall.”(636-638), showing that he is prepared to die, if needed, to defeat this hellish creature. Later that night, in his battle with Grendel, Beowulf showed his strength. “The Captain of evil discovered himself in a handgrip harder than anything he had ever encountered in any man on the face of the earth… in all his days, he had never been clamped or cornered like this”(749-752,755-756). Beowulf’s strength surpassed that of even supernatural beings and allowed his to go on the offensive against a foe that had ravaged Heorot for years and thus allowed him to fulfill his boast. Beowulf power is brought out in his recitation of his deeds and again later actions against the mother of Grendel and a fire breathing dragon that threatens his home. In all of this fights, Beowulf is not seeking glory for himself, but
The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of an Anglo Saxon hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters many monsters and horrible beasts, but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are outstanding and he is even able to boast about all his achievements. Beowulf is the ultimate epic hero who risks his life countless times for glory which to him meant eternal life.
Beowulf is an epic poem that, above all, gives the reader an idea of a time long past; a time when the most important values were courage and integrity. The only factors that could bestow shower fame upon a person were heroic deeds and family lineage. Beowulf, as the paradigm of pagan heroes, exhibited his desire to amass fame and fortune; the only way to do so was to avenge the death of others. This theme of retribution that is ever present throughout the poem seems to color the identities of its characters.
What defines a hero? A hero is someone who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. The values of an Anglo-Saxon are bravery, truth, honor, loyalty, duty, hospitality, and perseverance. Such traits define an epic hero, who with noble motivations preservers through the toughest obstacles. Beowulf is this hero, he is a true hero with true noble motivations and good intention.
The poem Beowulf presents the transformation of Beowulf from a brave warrior to an honorable King. The evolution of Beowulf shows how he fulfills his obligations to the warrior’s heroic code and then transcends into a King who loyally protects his Kingdom. Beowulf’s transformation is shown through a progression of three increasingly more difficult conflicts he must overcome- first with Grendel, then Grendel’s mother and finally against the mighty dragon. These three events are seen "as the three agons in the hero 's life"(Chickering 64). Through these adverse events Beowulf will change from brave young warrior to noble King. This paper will examine the manifestation of heroism in the poem
After the first victory, Beowulf’s “comrades willingly go with him because of their confidence in his ability to lead them and to achieve their objectives” (Loughman). Beowulf becomes a role model not only for his thanes, but for the Danes of Heorot as well. Following defeat of Grendel’s mother, Hrothgar gives a sermon before the celebration honoring Beowulf begins. Hrothgar says “Beowulf, my friend, your fame has gone far and wide, you are known everywhere….forever you will be your people’s mainstay and your own warriors’ helping hand” (McArthur). King Hrothgar informs Beowulf of his significance to the Danes and how he serves as the backbone of his group of warriors.
This essay is a character analysis that compares and contrast the two main characters of the epic “Beowulf”. The essay informs the reader of the traits the two characters have in common including their cocky personalities and their impossible strength. It also mentions the many opposing characteristics of the two characters including how brave or cowardly they are, and weather or not they want to help or hurt people. Many direct quotes from the epic “Beowulf” are also within the essay to help support each allegation, giving proof to the characteristics identified.
According to the definition, a hero is one who embodies the values of their society. In the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, written by an anonymous author, the character Beowulf is used to convey the value that Anglo-Saxons placed on courage, strength, and loyalty.
Some literary scholars maintain that Beowulf developed character flaws through the course of the long narrative poem, and that at the time of his death he was a victim of pride, avarice, selfishness and an inordinate craving for glory. The purpose of this essay is to show that he was a tremendous hero from beginning to end.
There is considerable debate as to whether the poem Beowulf is an epic narrative poem or an heroic elegy. Which is it. This essay intends to present both sides of the story.