Christopher Reeve once said “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endures in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” In other words, a hero is a normal person who is able to be strong and persevere despite difficult obstacles preventing them. In the book, Beowulf, the the nephew of the king of the land of the geats, helps Hrothgar, another king, kill a series of monsters that threaten his kingdom. He helps Hrothgar kill Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, and The Firedrake. Beowulf is a hero because he is just an ordinary person who finds the strength to persevere and endure despite the overwhelming obstacles preventing him from doing so. Beowulf embodies Christopher Reeve’s definition of a hero because he defeated the flesh-eating Grendel, who could not be stopped even by groups of elite soldiers. Beowulf also killed Grendel’s mother, a much eviler being who lived in a cave in an endless pool of blood that led to hell. Finally, he defeated The Firedrake, who swelled up and breathed fire when angry.
Throughout the story, Beowulf’s boasts resemble nothing less than a symbol of his arrogance. “…sailors have brought us stories of Herot, the best of all mead-halls, deserted and useless when the moon hangs in skies the sun had lit, light and life fleeing together. My people have said, the wisest, most knowing and best of them, that my duty was to go to the Danes’ Great king. They have seen my strength for themselves, have watched me rise from the darkness of war, dripping with my enemies’ blood. I drove five great giants into chains, chased all of that race from the earth. I swam in the blackness of night, hunting monsters out of the ocean, and killing them one by one; death was my errand and the fate they had earned. Now Grendel and I are called together, and I’ve come…I, alone and with the help of my men, may purge all evil from this hall. I have heard, too, that the monster’s scorn of men is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. Nor will I. My lord
“Quickly the dragon came at him encouraged as Beowulf fell back, its breath flared, and Beowulf suffered.” (The Dragon, pg.70, 815-819) Not wanting anyone to get his gold, the dragon fights to the death against Beowulf, but someone will be victorious in the end. After the dragon’s reactions to the stolen jewel Beowulf retaliates for his people.
When the dragon was greeted by Beowulf, “The hoard-guard recognized/a human voice, the time was over/for peace and parleying. Pouring fourth/in a hot battle-fume, the breath of the monster burst from the rock” (ll 704-708). The dragon was only worried about himself and did not care about anyone else. Greed is another motivation of the dragon. He wanted everything to himself, even if it did not belong to him. Beowulf must, “fight a dragon who, angry because a thief has stolen a jeweled cup from the dragon’s hoard of gold, is laying waste to the Geats’ land” (p. 43). If Beowulf did not fight him, the Dragon would burn down Geatland out of his anger. When the battle between the dragon and Beowulf was over, “Wiglaf enters the dragon’s cave and finds a priceless hoard of jewels and gold” (p. 47). The dragon stole priceless things just because he wanted it; it didn’t matter if it was his to take or not. The dragon had a variety if motivations for his
Heroes bring a hope to people whom they protect. Heroes bring people joy and bring a sense of relaxation to the people of their society because they play such an important role in lives everywhere. Heroes are complex rather than unembellished because they can fight dragons to defend their kingdom, or create a non-profit foundation to enhance the quality of life for more than 2,000 underprivileged kids. Heroes in our present day can be very complex because a person’s viewpoint on a hero’s life can be a completely different than the way another person looks at that same hero. Thomas Davis Sr. can be extremely comparable to Beowulf but they also have major differences.
In the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, the stupendous hero’s many great deeds often appear to be for other’s benefit, yet Beowulf’s final conquest exposes his lust for glory and fame, thereby showing his lack of concern for anything else. This lust for immense glory and fame feeds his ego and causes his death and the imminent downfall of his great people the Geats.
Not only is Beowulf honorable and well respected, he is brave as well. His courage is shown by not hesitating to risk his own life to pursue the Dane’s enemies. By being self-assured, Beowulf is able to successfully defeat the fiends, Grendel and his infamous mother. At the time Beowulf is planning to pursue the vindictive dragon, the epic poem states, “I’ve never known fear, as a youth I fought in endless battles. I am old now, but I will fight again, seek fame still, If the dragon hiding in his tower dares to face me.”(ll. 2511-2515). He feels no fear, is confident in fighting the dragon alone, and has no qualms in risking his life to save others. He declares his bravery by saying, “When he comes to me I mean to stand, not run from his shooting flames, stand till fate decides which of us wins... No one else could do what I mean to, here, no man but me could hope to defeat this monster.”(ll. 2525-2534). In his actions, Beowulf’s bravery is clearly shown throughout the poem.
The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf touches on the vice of pride, and is instilled in the main character, Beowulf, the great and mighty warrior. His boasting and arrogance when first dropping anchor at Heorot transitions throughout the poem, and, in contrast with his ideal kingsmanship, motivates him to accomplish and overcome the many challenges he faces as an epic hero. The contrast of his absent humility in the rise and fall of the story help promote the progression of the story, through its different purposes. Beowulf, when first landing upon Hrothgar’s kingdom, boasts, which does not go unchallenged, so that he might gain the trust of the Danes, but when knowingly facing his last battle, uses bragging to comfort and brace himself for his ultimate demise.
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.
Heroes are introduced to people early on in life usually as fictional characters, but as children grow older their perceptions of hero’s change. The characteristics of a hero are usually based around the ideas of a society or culture. In the epic Beowulf, the main character is thought of as a hero. Beowulf, a pagan warrior and the main character of the epic, shows certain characteristics such as generosity, strength, and courage, which portray him as a hero. Beowulf is faced with three forces to fight, Grendel, a monster, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. Beowulf hears about the troubles that the Danes are having with some evil monster named Grendel. Although Beowulf knows that he could be killed, he still packs
Beowulf first portrays greed when he kills Grendel. He decides that the dragon horn is not a sufficient reward and that he also wants to sleep with the queen. In response to Beowulf’s attempt to sleep with her, the queen states, “First driven by greed, now by lust, you may be beautiful, lord Beowulf” (Gaiman and Avary 49). Then, when Beowulf is sent to murder the water demon, he sleeps with her instead. One of his main reasons for doing this is his greed since the demon states, “Love me, and I shall weave you riches beyond imagination. I shall make you the greatest king that ever lived” (Gaiman and Avary 57). This decision due to his greed turns out to be costly as the child, a dragon, that he has with the water demon kills not only Beowulf but also many Danes. The greed that Beowulf possesses causes him to make poor decisions that bring harm to not only himself, but others as
The first half of this dual ordeal is the internal conflict of human nature to be overcome by pride and greed. The characteristic of pride and its contradiction to Christian values gives a first look at the dichotomies of pride vs. humility and sacrifice vs. greed. In Herot, King Hrothgar reminds Beowulf that pride, untempered by humility, will result in the tragic fall. He also shares with Beowulf a second element of Christian philosophy; “wealth, accumulated through the grace of God, must be shared unselfishly.” The characteristic of greed is contradictory in Beowulf. At first, Beowulf is made out to be a selfless warrior; he fights Grendel and Grendel's mother to ensure safety for his people, even if it means he will die. However, once the greed of Beowulf mixes with his pride, he loses that trait of selflessness. Beowulf lets his pride consume him, and begins to brag about what he has accomplished. Beowulf says “Grendel is no braver nor stronger than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not...” (Beowulf 376) Beowulf starts to call himself the best soldier in the world, and that he is the only one that could kill Grendel. At this point, Beowulf is no longer fighting for the protection of his people, but rather for his own personal glory.
A hero is a man of courage and ability who is admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. A hero is a person who does not come along very often in any time period. He is a special person, who is a step above the average person in the way that he handles any situation that may arise.
Beowulf’s last test of courage comes in his old age when his people are threatened by a “mighty” dragon. Beowulf felt as if something he had done had caused the irascible beast to wreck havoc on his people, “killing and destroying” them and their homes with its “molten” breath. Knowing what had to be done, Beowulf bravely faced the dragon, while all of his people, except for one, fled in fear. His last battle, which ended in death, displayed Beowulf’s unwavering courage, the type that every hero should possess.
Even at the end of the poem, the appearance of the dragon, the beast that finally slays Beowulf himself, is a reference to this. The dragon has its horde of gold and other precious items, keeping it all to himself. It is an evil creature, and its avarice is only another means to let us