Character Analysis Of Beowulf

1447 Words6 Pages
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. In literary work, a hero is a character, or protagonist, included who, when put in front of danger, withstands adversity by being brave and resourceful. They often…show more content…
Beowulf often bragged about his conquests which included “five beasts, raiding a troll-nest, and in the night-sea slaughtering nine sea-brutes” (50). Throughout his life he killed many evil monsters, including Grendel, Grendel’s mother, nine sea monsters, and a dragon. Obviously, Beowulf was a brave and courageous character, but one questionable quality was inflated confidence. He was rarely challenged by others due to his victorious reputation, but when he was, Beowulf made sure the challenger felt the full weight of public correction. When Unferth approached Beowulf and announced that he lost a swimming contest to Breca, Beowulf immediately defended himself and told Unferth what actually happened. According to Beowulf he was in full armor, he was carrying a sword, and fought nine sea monsters on his journey. When he finished the long travel across the sea, he let everyone know that he cleared the sea and made it safe for travel, in an attempt to outshine Breca’s win. In the end, when Beowulf must face the dragon, he chooses to go alone rather than have his kinship assist him. His prideful nature prompts Beowulf to battle the dragon solo thereby securing the fame and glory of the win for himself. Unfortunately, this decision turned south when Beowulf was…show more content…
Due to these values which are instilled in Sir Gawain, he is one of King Arthur’s most respected and loved knight. All of these qualities are proved to be true when he takes the Green Knight’s challenge on behalf of King Arthur and Camelot. One night a “fearful form appeared, framed in the door: a mountain of a man, immeasurably high” (189. 136-137) comes to Arthur’s table and proposes a game by offering a challenge to the court in a brash and rude way. The Green Knight is referred to as a ghostly creature because of his magical qualities such as his green skin tone, and his odd ability to live without a head. The ironic part about this is that the strange man says that he comes in peace, yet he comes with a frightening green axe. The challenge that the Green Knight offers is as follows: any knight whom is brave enough to strike the green man’s neck with his monstrous axe may keep the weapon, but they must accept a strike in return in precisely one year and a day. Sir Gawain takes the challenge because he believes that he is " the weakest of Arthur’s knights, he knows, and the dull-minded, so his death would be the least loss, if truth should be told; only because Arthur is his uncle" (354 - 357). This line proves that Sir Gawain is brave but taking this challenge might have been a mistake on his behalf. Throughout this story Sir Gawain’s qualities are tested by

More about Character Analysis Of Beowulf

Open Document