Until moved by the needs of his people, young Beowulf decides to sail to Denmark along with a limited amount of men hoping to defeat Grendel and save his people from future horrors. In, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Green Knight challenges the entire court and taunts them by asking ,“Where is
Beowulf, like other heroes, wants to prove his strength and toughness. He does not use any weapons to give him an advantage; rather, he is only willing to use the strength found inside him. He does not want to appear weak in the eyes of his lord, so he chooses to display his power. The epic poem provides clear examples to depict Beowulf as an epic
Firstly, Beowulf used his physical excellence to help the Danes from the monsters haunting them. When Beowulf goes to fight Grendel he brings his best men to help him but as the fight between him and Grendel goes on, Beowulfs followers learn that they
In order to obtain maximum respect in each conflict, both Beowulf and Arthur enter into battle somewhat alone. Beowulf specifically asks, "That he, alone and with the help of his men, may purge all evil from the hall." His request is granted by Hrothgar, King of the Danes, so he and his man enter into the battle themselves so that when Grendel is defeated, the glory, love and respect belong solely to Beowulf and his men. Arthur does the same, "he met with his man and his horse, and so mounted up and dressed his shield and took his spear, and bade his chamberlain tarry there till he came again." Although Arthur begins his journey alone he does meet up with Merlin, the court magician and faithful companion, who accompanies him.
During these time periods, a hero was usually a great a warrior who sacrificed oneself to protect their king and kingdom. In addition, culture, religion, chivalry, and traditions played a vital role in the work of these early heroes. This was seen numerous times in Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where both characters frequently prayed and followed the Code of Chivalry. In contrast, a hero today would portray few— or none— cultural or religious elements. Usually, present-day heroes would acquire the label by depicting some sort of supernatural, phenomenal, or superhuman trait that a normal person would not obtain.
Other heroes, like Gilgamesh and Odysseus, usually do heroic deeds to help their kingdoms and men. For example, Gilgamesh kills the heavenly bull to avoid a famine from wrecking his kingdom, while Odysseus works to save his men throughout the story multiple times. Loyalty towards himself before anyone or anything else, is one of the qualities that separates Beowulf from other traditional heroes. Ironically in his efforts to gain fame and riches, Beowulf 's traits overlap with those of an epic hero. More important than Beowulf 's lack of morality though, is the warrior 's lack of growth throughout the story.
In Beowulf, Beowulf must undergo three main trials in order to fulfill his destiny. Before Beowulf begins his quest, the unknown author drafts Beowulf as a hero whom the people of Geatland acknowledge and look up to. For example, as Beowulf recruited able warriors and prepared to set out to Denmark to save Hrothgar’s people from Grendel, no elder denied his plan. The elders’ respect for Beowulf, demonstrates his influence in society. In his past, Beowulf stated he, “Battled and bound five beasts,/ raided a troll-nest and in the night-sea/ slaughtered sea-brutes” (lns.
He never gives up on hurting the kingdom that he continued to eat, without an opponent he continues to defeat the kingdoms warriors. Until the hero came to defeat Grendel and finally won because he strived for fame. Beowulf is very ambitious, ready to go to battle anywhere. The epic states “When he hears the tale of Hrothgar’s distress, he sets sail for Denmark to rid the land of its fear” (“Beowulf”). Beowulf did not know who these people were yet he sent sail for this journey just to earn a win on his hero card.
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the protagonist is Macbeth. Macbeth is described at first as a mighty, courageous warrior devoted to King Duncan. However, Macbeth realizes his importance and evil enters his mind, corrupting his motives. While in the poem, Beowulf, the protagonist, Beowulf, is also portrayed as mighty, courageous warrior, but is devoted to King Hrothgar. Unlike Macbeth, Beowulf defends his kingdom to benefit others and will risk his life at any cost for the preservation of King Hrothgar’s kingdom.
By definition, a hero a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities (Merriam Webster). Different qualities like courage, honor and selflessness is what makes a hero and creates their reputation. However, a hero cannot be admired by the people it protects without exhibiting these three qualities. These three men show what a hero should really be. Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney and Sir Gawain from “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” translated by Brian Stone and Burton Raffel demonstrate heroic qualities like courage, honor, and selflessness, but Christy Mahon form Playboy of the Western World; and the Riders to the Sea written by J.M.