Beowulf, the Epic Hero

1431 Words Nov 16th, 2010 6 Pages
Beowulf, the Epic Hero

There have been many grand stories about great warriors, and champions; those about epic heroes however, are the truly exceptional tales. One such tale, over a thousand years old, stands out from all the rest: Beowulf, the tale of a great warrior, on his quest to achieve eternal glory, defeating great opponents. Throughout the whole story, Beowulf demonstrates most –if not all- of the qualities that an archetypal hero possesses. He embodies the highest ideals of his culture, travels to find adventure, and is not emotionally connected to his followers. Beowulf undertakes his journey to achieve something of great value to himself and society, defeats monsters, yet maintains humanity. Although Beowulf experiences
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Later in life, when Beowulf is crowned King, he asserts himself greater by chasing after the Dragon, to protect his kingdom.

Another obvious heroic characteristic that Beowulf portrays is the defeat of monsters and other malevolence. He does this throughout the story, not only using brute force, but also cunning tactics, such as the time when he attacks Grendel’s extremely sensitive ears. Beowulf also disposes of Grendel’s Mother, using a gigantic sword in her lair to decapitate her, and ends the reign of terror on the Danes. Years later, after Beowulf is crowned King, his land is assailed by the Dragon. This epic battle proves just how valiant Beowulf actually is, going after the beast single-handedly, instead of endangering any of his men. It is a long, hard-fought battle, in which Beowulf contests with all his might. Beowulf ultimately kills the Dragon –rips out its heart-, but not without a price; the battle costs the King his life.

Although the acts of battle and heroism that Beowulf performs are anything but human, he manages to maintain a sense of benevolence. During a Frisian invasion, in which the assailants are no match for the Geats and Danes, Beowulf states, “This is not battle, Wiglaf. This is slaughter.” When a prisoner is captured in this battle, Beowulf prevents the men from teasing and ridiculing him, demanding that they kill him swiftly, and respectfully. When this man, Finn of Frisia,

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