Beowulf : The Anglo-Saxon Archetype Of An Epic Hero

Decent Essays
BeaHero An epic hero is a brave and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or affected by grand events. The epic hero of a story embarks on a quest in search of fame and glory, and encounters challenges throughout their journey. No matter the adversity, the epic hero maintains bravery and courage, never backing down. However, what the epic hero does not know is that the “real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge” (Foster 3). In the epic Beowulf, Anonymous employes the affection of a king, bravery in battle, an eternal quest and a lasting legacy to show Beowulf as an epic hero. Beowulf embodies the Anglo-Saxon archetype of an epic hero. A key moment in the epic is when king Hrothgar welcomes Beowulf to his kingdom and says “But to table, Beowulf, a banquet in your honor:/Let us toast your victories, and talk of the future” (ll. 223-224). Here it is shown that even a king is acknowledging Beowulf’s bravery and is throwing him a feast, one of the highest honors a king could bestow upon anyone, showing Hrothgar’s great admiration for Beowulf. During the feast Unferth questions Beowulf’s honor but is shown to be a coward himself when Beowulf refutes his claims and inspires king Hrothgar with a speech: “The Geats will show him courage, soon/He can test his strength in battle. And when the sun/Comes up again, opening another/Bright day from the south, anyone in Denmark” will be able to enter Herot (ll. 332-342). Much like they typical Anglo-Saxon
Get Access