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Essay On Beowulf As An Epic Hero

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The hero of this age is a caped, altruistic man with superpowers. The hero of the time of the Anglo-Saxons, as well as much before and much after, was considerably different and was referred to preceded by the word “epic.” The best way to understand the Anglo-Saxon hero is to read the epic poem, Beowulf, and study the title character, as he is the epitome of epic heroism. Beowulf’s tale begins when the Danish king, Hrothgar, and his citizens are being terrorized by a monster, Grendel. Grendel attacks the heart of the kingdom, the mead-hall, Herot, and viciously destroys many soldiers. To handle this beast, Hrothgar calls Beowulf, a well-known, strong soldier, to bring his army and reclaim Herot. Beowulf does so. He kills Grendel without using any weapons, then kills Grendel's mother, who appears to avenge her son. After this, Beowulf lives a peaceful life as king of the Geats, until he has to face a dragon. He, with the help of his sole loyal soldier, Wiglaf, defeats the dragon, but loses…show more content…
As most epic heroes do, Beowulf receives help and experiences hostility from supernatural elements. His primary foes, Grendel and Grendel’s mother, are both “powerful monster[s]” and Grendel can even cast spells (Line 1). It is stated that he “bewitched all men’s weapons, laid spells / That blunted every mortal man’s blade” (Lines 325-336). These two beasts are not his only mythical adversaries. His final battle was with a dragon who had “breath. . . burning / Hot” and “poison [pouring] from his tongue“ (Lines 616-617). In addition to facing these three evil, fantastic beings, he receives help from a mystical sword to slay one of them. The sword that he deals the final blow to Grendel’s mother with is described as “a heavy / Sword, hammered by giants, strong / And blessed with their magic” (Lines 513-515). Beowulf’s interaction with the supernatural displays that he is an epic
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