The character Beowulf has all of the characteristics that an epic hero should have. In the Epic Hero PowerPoint, Belinda Jones says: “He has 12 main characteristics: they must look like a hero, they must be noble, famous, strong, courageous, humble, prideful, thick-skinned, self-sacrificing, faithful, focused, be a leader, and have a tragic flaw” (Jones 3). An epic hero must have all 12 characteristics or they are not an epic hero. If someone has all 12 characteristics that an epic hero is supposed to have, they can start their hero’s journey. One example that suggests that Beowulf has courage and supernatural strength would be when he stabs the dragon, landing a fatal wound.
Mythological or Archetypal philosophy has been around for centuries and is used across numerous cultures. Carl Jung, a close colleague of Sigmund Freud, defined the word archetype as “a figure...that repeats itself in the course of history wherever creative fantasy is fully manifested.” Archetypes can come in various forms: characters, images, and situations. Though many different forms of archetypes appear in the tale of Beowulf, specifically, the archetypal character roles of the hero and the outcast are major aspects of the story. The role of the hero is a popularly recognizable element of many stories.
Beowulf the character is a timeless example of heroism due to his physical strength, bravery, and determination. For example, Beowulf boasts about his physical strength to the “Danes’ / Great king,” who have “watched [him] rise from the darkness of war, / Dripping with [his] enemies’ blood” (416-419). Clearly from reading these lines, the readers can infer that Beowulf is trying to boast his physical strength. This quote is also significant because Beowulf first refers to his physical strength.
Beowulf’s Unstoppable Courage In the novel Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, Beowulf possesses unstoppable courage which allows him to help move the plot along and maintain the balance between good and evil. Beowulf first exhibits courage when he first hears the news of Grendel. He immediately assembles a team together and goes over to Heorot upon receiving word of Grendel’s actions. Beowulf shows courage even when no one else volunteers to complete the task: “Then news of Grendel,/ had to ignore, reached me at home...
When one visualizes the word “hero”, often images of hulking, muscled people in military uniforms, fireman carrying children from burning houses, or police officers arresting dangerous criminals come to mind. Most heroes are commonly described as handsome and strong, almost as if they look like a God; and because of that, some are even treated as if they are royalty. Young people may imagine a highly-skilled, famous athlete or a good-looking movie star. However, a true hero is more often defined by inner qualities rather than outside appearances or even grand gestures of bravery.
The English epic, Beowulf, takes place in the Anglo-Saxon period where a tale of a hero named Beowulf is celebrated. “Explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger: Address to the Nation” is a speech devised by former President Ronald Reagan about the tragic death of the members of the Challenger Seven space crew. The crew members of the Challenger are similar to Beowulf because they both display courage. Although they both plunge into dangerous situations, Beowulf is more heroic than the members of the Challenger because during his hour of need, Beowulf is forlorn by his own warriors, but continues to fight on as though nothing can possibly stop him. To begin with, Beowulf is similar to the members of the Challenger Seven space crew because
Beowulf fulfills all the requirements of an epic hero. First, he is the Prince of the Geats and the nephew of his king. This satisfies the need for a noble person. Second, Beowulf is of historical importance as he is the focus of the epic poem Beowulf. The focus on him and belief that he was real makes him legendary and important to come cultures.
Beowulf proves to be an archetypal hero in the book called Beowulf through a tremendous display of bravery, courage, leadership, and pride. The booke say that Beowulf “quickly commanded a boat fitted out, now when help was needed” (lns. 113-116). This is proclaiming that he would go to the famous king after hearing how Grendel had massacred the Danes. Beowulf seems as if he is eagerly waiting for a challenge when he stumble upon the news from Denmark.
Every culture has rules and customs written in stone, in which they describe to be the perfect human being. This person is usually made into a hero and with all these perfect traits comes a perfect story to be told, it is usually told as an epic. There is always something that separates this character from the rest, from extraordinary strength to humble leadership. According to T. Mercadal, “The hero archetype is an ideal person (usually male) who possesses virtues and outstanding traits meant to be admired and imitated, such as courage, leadership, noble sentiments, self-sacrifice, bravery, and strength.” This assertion portrays the main characteristics of the Germanic heroic Code that are presented throughout the poem.
In the epic poem “Beowulf” the character Beowulf is the foundation for all of our modern heroes, but was he really a great hero? A hero is classified as a person who is admired for their bravery, achievements, or nobility. Although Beowulf displays all these qualities, there are several reasons he is not a hero, mainly him being egotistical and arrogant. This is why Beowulf is not a heroic person. Beowulf is often caught bragging about himself and his great accomplishments.