Beowulf: The Ideal Epic Hero

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A hero is someone who uses his or her physical and mental strengths to battle seemingly insurmountable obstacles. These heroes will overcome the odds to reign victorious. The larger- than-life characters, whether real or fictional, that we learn about become our role models. We aspire to be them; we fantasize that one day we too may become heroes. These heroes live out lives that we can only dream of, yet they give us a sense of hope for the world. These characters may be seen in our own lives, or they are found in the minds of storytellers, who bring ideal qualities to life. An example of this comes in the earliest known form of the English language epic Beowulf. In the classic epic poem “Beowulf,” the title character is the ideal epic hero,…show more content…
The text describes Beowulf’s strength by stating, “But Beowulf longed only for fame leaped back into battle. He tossed his sword aside, angry; the steel-edged blade lay where he dropped it. If weapons were useless he’d use his hands, the strength in his fingers.” (457-462). Beowulf realizes that his sword is ineffective against the mighty mother of Grendel. He gives up on a useless weapon and attacks the terrifying monster with his bare hands. He uses his inner physical strength to defeat the dragon, with his own hands being his only aid in battle. His physical strength is described in the passage “My lord Higlac might think less of me as I let my sword go where my feet were afraid to, if I hid behind some broad linen shield. My hands alone shall fight for me.” (248-252). 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…show more content…
Beowulf ended the suffering of the people he was trying to protect. He displays absolute courage and bravery on the battlefield. Moreover, he shows no fear or any sign of weakness, as he is determined to defeat the enemy. His physical strength is seen when he abandons his sword and faces the enemy barehanded. He does not want to appear weak by hiding behind a shield or sword that will protect him. He displays his physical power as he battles the three monsters. Beowulf is a character that ordinary people aspire to resemble, and he is the ultimate example of an epic

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