The 8th century epic poem Beowulf illustrates a loss of community, cultural values and tradition. On the other hand, an elegiac passing of an extraordinary hero and the relationship between the themes of mortality and heroism are well discussed in Beowulf. Beowulf’s character exemplifies the Germanic and the Anglo-Saxon ideals of the hero: strong, fearless, bold, loyal, and stoic in the acceptance of fate. Despite his lack of humility, Beowulf was the definition of a hero in his own time by his demonstration of chivalry and his important roles in society. It is a fact that Beowulf’s “superman figure” and warrior character had a strong influence on his efforts over what he was trying to achieve. Beowulf’s biggest concern was to see …show more content…
Like the typical hero, Beowulf gave boasts. While in Hrothgar’s kingdom, Beowulf defended himself against the kin-killer Unferth and he bragged that he would kill Grendel: “I will show him how Geats shape to kill/ in the heat of battle”(602-603). This boasting was done to prove his valor and bravery. Beowulf also proved that he was a superhuman when he destroyed both Grendel and Grendel’s mother since no other warriors had attempted to even get close to those demons. Beowulf’s leadership skills were just as impressive as his heroic characteristics. He was just as valiant and courageous as a king as he was a warrior. Beowulf was not only the archetypal hero, but also the ideal Germanic king. In order for one to understand what a good king was, Halfdane related an example of a bad king to Beowulf. Halfdane’s example of Heremond was that he was a horrible ruler because he was “bloodthirsty”(1719), “killed his own comrades”(1714) and at the end of his life, “gave no more rings”(1719). In contrast, Beowulf as a king was compassionate towards his warriors and was a “lavisher of rings”(3009). Unlike Heremond, Beowulf valued a sense of community and camaraderie. Beowulf was not only a generous ruler, but also a king who had outstanding leadership and peace-making skills. His main reason for coming to the Danes’ land was to make peace with Halfdane and his kingdom. In addition, the relationship between Beowulf and Unferth, after Unferth
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
While the initial judgments of the main character Beowulf were that he was seen as the hero of the fictional epic poem “Beowulf” by an anonymous writer, this assertion may be skewed with the information of the reasonings alluded by the narrator as to why this character vanquished the monsters. The evidence of Beowulf showing that his actions of slaying the monsters were for the prominence of the title shows that Beowulf cannot be portrayed as a true hero for he did not have the selfless characteristics a warrior at this timeline would usually be seen possessing.
Being a hero can be defined many different ways. Several qualities like courage, respect, and strength can define heroism. A hero is noted for his or her actions for being brave, powerful, and acting with honor. In the epic poem, Beowulf, the main character Beowulf shows all of these characteristics by defending the Danish king, Hrothgar, and his people. He is a true hero by honoring his country and exerting his power and strength to protect others. Beowulf embodies the qualities of bravery, being powerful, and demonstrating his honor; therefore, he can be considered a true hero.
Beowulf, the defender of Hrothgar and Heorot, exhibits far more complicated (and less sincere) shades of revenge than the Grendel’s mother. At the end of the day, Beowulf’s goal is to become the preeminent warrior in all the land. In his society, the only way to gain such widespread celebrity is through courageous and self-endangering acts. Beowulf masks these deeds with a façade of seeking revenge; he supposedly comes to Heorot to save the Danes from Grendel’s terror, but his true motives lie in becoming a hero. His reward is not the pride of doing a good deed; Beowulf is rewarded with lavish and expensive gifts.
Many readers of the poem Beowulf may find it difficult to distinguish the 'good' kings from the rest – indeed, almost every man who holds a throne in the epic is named at one point or another to be 'good'. By examining the ideals of the time period as identified by the 'heroic code', it becomes clearer that a truly 'good' king is one who generously distributes treasure and weaponry to deserving retainers to honour courage and strength displayed in battle and to encourage the defense of the kingdom (Intro). When Beowulf ascends the throne of the Geats, the heroic traits of courage and strength for which he was so highly praised as a warrior do not serve well in making him a good king. Indeed, by exhibiting the traits of a thane, that is, by
The poem Beowulf presents the transformation of Beowulf from a brave warrior to an honorable King. The evolution of Beowulf shows how he fulfills his obligations to the warrior’s heroic code and then transcends into a King who loyally protects his Kingdom. Beowulf’s transformation is shown through a progression of three increasingly more difficult conflicts he must overcome- first with Grendel, then Grendel’s mother and finally against the mighty dragon. These three events are seen "as the three agons in the hero 's life"(Chickering 64). Through these adverse events Beowulf will change from brave young warrior to noble King. This paper will examine the manifestation of heroism in the poem
Beowulf exhibits many obvious heroic qualities, such as his strength and confidence in battle. These along with more subtle diplomatic actions serve to define him as both a great warrior and leader.
Beowulf showed his honor as he traveled from his homeland to battle the vicious monster Grendel, who was terrorizing the Danes. Grendel “Raided and ravaged” the mead hall, showing no honor by killing intoxicated men in their sleep. Beowulf knows that there is a chance that he may die in his great battle against Grendel when he says, “If death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac…”, yet he is still willing to attempt to defeat Grendel. A hero in the Anglo-Saxon time is always very confident, as well he should be. It would serve no purpose to face battle with doubt of ones ability to do so, and with fear of all that awaits him. Beowulf’s morality came also in the form of loyalty to people and his word. Promises by Beowulf were kept . Acceptance of death, and care for the welfare of his people were Beowulf’s greatest virtues. His
Beowulf does not display many of the qualities we look for in a hero: resourcefulness, mercy, and the ability to delegate. What seemed to Beowulf’s early audiences as a remarkable show of ‘fairness’ when the epic states that Beowulf “will fight (Grendel) with (his) bare hands, without sword or shield” shows to a modern audience a lack of resourcefulness. In a day
Beowulf is a great leader of men. This is shown when his men stay with him even when he wants to fight beasts. Even after watching Grendel slaughter everyone, his men stayed loyal to him and tried to help him in the battle. The loyalty of his followers show his skills in leadership. Later in the novel Beowulf becomes king, becoming a recognized leader.
Beowulf was a good king. He wasn’t greedy or mean or selfish, he put his people first. And it’s evident in the fact that he went to fight the dragon himself, when he could’ve got some other “hero” to do it. “...he saw nothing to fear, thought nothing of the beast’s claws,
Some literary scholars maintain that Beowulf developed character flaws through the course of the long narrative poem, and that at the time of his death he was a victim of pride, avarice, selfishness and an inordinate craving for glory. The purpose of this essay is to show that he was a tremendous hero from beginning to end.
Beowulf is always seeking to help his enrich his image. This flaw in his character, as well as his feeling of invincibility leads to his downfall later in life. “Again and again the angry monsters made fierce attacks, I served them well with my noble blade, as was only fitting. Small pleasure they had in such a sword-feast, dark things in the sea that meant to eat me, …I had chanced to kill some nine sea-beasts. I never have heard of a harder night-fight under heaven’s vault, or a man more oppressed on the ocean streams.”(Beowulf p83) It is very apparent here that Beowulf is extremely proud of what he had accomplished, and was not going to let some other person who had done no major heroic deed try to put him down. In fact, he goes on to say that no one in the world has fought such a hard fight as he did that night.
Imagine that you are the hero of a village. You are the person that everyone looks up to- you have all the fame and fortune you could possibly want. But, this doesn’t just come to you on a silver platter. There are risks to take, challenges to overcome, and lives to be put at stake. You must defeat creatures of all sizes and strengths to gain this honorary title. This is Beowulf’s reality as he must conquer unbelievable tasks that nobody else would dare to face. Because of this, Beowulf is recognized as a boasting person, brave, and selfless; and rightfully so.
Throughout the poem, Beowulf, is characterized by his acts of heroism in the Anglo-Saxon society. He not only possesses the values of strength and bravery, but as well exhibits the theme of the “Germanic-Code” which include loyalty, chivalry, and self-respect. But it seems that his values of heroism leans