Hero and Beowulf

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The hero is an age-old concept that describes someone that will defend their honor to the end. In Beowulf, the author portrays the warrior Beowulf and his three battles in such a way as to clearly define what it means to be a hero. Fred Robinson and J. R. R. Tolkien addressed heroism in Beowulf regarding the warrior’s traits, as well as his battles and burial. The author of Beowulf defines the hero through Beowulf’s three battles with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. In this poem, each monster possesses a specific quality undesired by heroes. Beowulf battles anger/jealousy, vengeance, and greed/selfishness for the good of his Geat nation. As Beowulf fends off these anti-hero traits, he becomes capable of being a great leader of…show more content…
This is shown in the third and final battle as Beowulf sacrifices his life for the prosperity of the Geat nation. The dragon in this scenario encompasses extreme greed and selfishness. In the poem, a wretched man steals a golden goblet from the treasure that the dragon was protecting. After discovering that someone had stolen a piece of the treasure, the dragon awoke and “began to belch out flames / and burn bright homesteads; there was a hot glow / that scared everyone, for the vile sky-winger / would leave nothing alive in his wake” (2311-2315). The dragon becomes enraged with greed over his possessions that he must avenge his stolen goblet. It is in this third battle that the poet describes why the hero cannot demonstrate these treacherous traits. Beowulf seeks vengeance for his Geat people: “My own kith and kin avenged” (2479). Just as Grendel’s mother, Beowulf seeks to avenge his kin in cold blood. Beowulf exhibits jealousy as he defeats the dragon and quickly asks Wiglaf to “hurry to feast your eyes on the hoard / away you go; I want to examine / that ancient gold” (2746-2748). Beowulf believes he will have an easier death if he gazes at the treasure for the last moments of his life. Just as Grendel displays jealousy over the Danes’ great hall, the Heorot, Beowulf displays jealousy over the great treasure that the Dragon protects. Finally, Beowulf exhibits the greed of the dragon as he
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