Beowulf: The Epic Hero

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Beowulf, written between the 8th and 10th centuries, is an epic poem set in southern Sweden. The poem illustrates the Anglo-Saxon’s strong belief in the heroic code. The loyalty between the warrior and his king bound the culture together. The warrior was the ultimate hero who represented strength and courage. Beowulf, the hero in the poem, illustrates the Germanic principles of the heroic code. Through the battles and character interactions, Beowulf converges loyalty, strength, courage and forgiveness into the hero archetype. The Anglo-Saxon culture ran on the outline of the heroic code. The warrior pledged allegiance to his lord in exchange for protection (“Beowulf” 38). Through acts of strength and bravery in battle, the…show more content…
He was a considerate man (Beowulf 1807-12). Beowulf displays a kingly character. Though his fellow man turns on him, he chooses to remain loyal to his warriors and show forgiveness. Beowulf illustrates the both powerful bravery and strength that define the heroic code. The poet describes the Geat warrior as a “man whose name was known for courage” (Beowulf 330). Beowulf knows he is strong and declares himself capable to King Hrothgar stating, “I battled and bound five beasts, / raided a troll-nest and in the night-sea / slaughtered sea-brutes” (Beowulf 420-2). His testimonies of strength and battle achievements are not to boast for personal glory but to credit himself worthy and capable of defeating Grendel. Beowulf succeeds in mortally wounding Grendel, but the demon’s mother threatens Hrothgar’s hall again with another attack. Beowulf does not turn away from this set back but rises to the challenge and encourages Hrothgar to avenge the death of his friend, Aeschere . Beowulf explains to Hrothgar, “It is always better / to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning. / For every one of us, living in this world / means waiting for our end. Let whoever can / win glory before death” (Beowulf 1384-8). Beowulf’s concerns are largely of loyalty to his lord and obtaining glory no matter the risks. Critic Joseph Weidenboerner writes, “the clan hero is always conscious of the ‘other,’ focusing on his service to persons or powers greater

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