Beowulf: an Epic Hero

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Nate Gauvain British Literature Beowulf Essay 9/22/04 Beowulf: An Epic Hero According to Abrams, the heroic poem is "a long verse narrative on a serious subject, told in an elevated style, and centered on a heroic or quasi-divine figure on whose actions depends the fate of a tribe, a nation, or the human race." Beowulf fits Abrams' description of an epic, exhibiting all of the characteristics listed throughout the book, thus defining Beowulf as a hero and making the book an epic through it's elevated style, the focus of a hero, and a quasi-divine hero which a tribe, nation or human race is dependent on. Beowulf is a narrative which describes the adventures of the hero Beowulf as he travels from his homeland of Geatland to…show more content…
After vanquishing the Grendel, a ceremony was held in Heorot to honor Beowulf and his courageousness. In order to properly honor their hero, the Danes presented numerous gifts to Beowulf: "It was hardly a shame to be showered with such gifts in front of the hall-troops. There haven't been many moments, I am sure, when men exchanged four such treasures at so friendly a sitting." (67) Judging from this passage, it appears as though Beowulf is being honored more lavishly than most of the Danish kings and warriors had been in the past. Beowulf's tragic death caused him to be remembered fondly and honored accordingly during his funeral: "Mourning his loss as a man and a king. They extolled his heroic nature and exploits and gave thanks for his greatness; which was the proper thing, for a man should praise a prince whom he holds dear" (213) In both life and death, the life and accomplishments of Beowulf were always celebrated with the most sacred and bountiful of ceremonies, showing just how heroic of a figure he is. Throughout Beowulf, the characteristics of epic poetry as outlined by Abrams are constantly seen. Beowulf is quite a long story, as it connects three narratives of Beowulf and his conquests of the three main antagonists: Grendel, the mother of Grendel, and the dragon. The style and tone of the narration is consistent with that of Homer

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