Beowulf - Profile of an Epic Hero Essay

617 Words Mar 3rd, 2001 3 Pages
Epic Beowulf

A hero, in the traditional sense of the word, is generally a protagonist in a story whose overwhelming power is the only which can defeat the evil of the day. In a classic example of this comes Beowulf, a novel adaptation of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem by Robert Nye. The main character and namesake of the story is Beowulf, an adventurous young hero. When he hears the tales of the monster Grendel that terrorizes the Danish kingdom, he immediately has the urge to lend his assistance to the situation, knowing that he is the only one who can defeat the evil. Not only is Beowulf a hero, he is an epic hero.
An epic hero, by definition, is identified by the following characteristics:
1. A hero of noble birth, sometimes
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Beowulf's comitatus is common in nearly all epic heroes and showcases his devotion and loyalty even more. Beowulf giving up the treasures bestowed upon him by Hrothgar shows both his devotion to his king and his generosity, both classically defining traits in an epic hero.
However, Beowulf does not exhibit all of the qualities of the epic hero. Beowulf's tragic foil is not that of a disgraced king, but that of one of the king's servants. Unferth, a knight of King Hrothgar is swayed by evil power of Grendel and his mother. This evil inside, and possibly a bit of jealousy, caused Unferth to kill Aeschere, a thane to Hrothgar. This evil desire within Unferth ultimately brought about his end, being decapitated by Grendel's Mother. Unferth being the flaw in the story differs than that of a traditional epic her story, and is one of the few points that does so.
Beowulf overall was a highly skilled and highly intelligent warrior with little fear and an overpowering stench of goodness. Beowulf's ability to get himself out of situations by thinking positively and somehow inflicting fear on those around him gave him much admiration. Beowulf was I am sure an idol and role model to many, and a disappointment to none; as was this story in

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