It is this part in the poem that somewhat revealed the importance of his boastfulness in this poem. Other heroic tales have helped us form a set of characteristics that tend to describes heroes, one of those characteristics being humble. Humbleness is not only a heroic trait but that of a good person—which is why Beowulf’s bragging tends to throw the audience off. Beowulf builds himself up with his words. By this I mean he boasts about his previous ventures and his success to come because this helps the Danes and King Hrothgar gain confidence in him concerning the defeat of Grendel.
Grendel’s head was so hard to move that it “was no easy matter for those courageous men, bold as kings, to carry the head away from the cliff” (pg. 54). Instead of getting treasures for the Danes or even his own people, he brings back Grendel’s head that provides no real gain other than a symbol of how courageous and heroic he was. Beowulf does this because he had remorse for not delivering Grendel’s dead body to the Danes, but also because he wanted to ensure that stories of his courageous acts and god-like heroism spreads among rapidly among a vast number of people and
He then goes on to defeat and kill to more monsters while staying with the Danes. Despite that Beowulf is different from others perception of a traditional hero, he still shows many of the characteristics of a Traditional hero. He is still strong, brave, and has helped people just a traditional hero would. The way Beowulf shows his strength throughout the whole story is amazing. He starts out with going to what is now called Denmark to defeat and kill the monster called Grendel.
In a society where heroism and bravery are honored as essential aspects of culture, the contrasting values of these characters, or foils, help define Beowulf as the model hero. He becomes often associated with the image of a perfect, almighty warrior, able to prove his fame in any situation. However, the foil characters can do more than purely illuminate his positive values. With the contrast they provide, Beowulf’s faults are revealed and criticized as well. Although foil characters often point out the greatness of Beowulf, they also serve to highlight Beowulf’s flaws, teach him lessons, and allow him to change, as seen in his interactions with Unferth, Hrothgar, and the dragon.
Beowulf’s bravery is shown throughout the whole story. For example, when he decides to fight Grendel without any weapons seeing as how Grendel does not attack and kill with weapons. This shows much bravery and as he said in the story “My hands/alone shall fight for me, struggle for life/ against the monster.” (Raffel, 267-270) Beowulf here is talking about how he will fight Grendel with his own bare hands seeing as it will be a fair fight. Beowulf’s bravery makes him refuse when people suggest for someone else to fight the dragon because of his old age. He says with great pride he will face the dragon and not run away “I feel no shame, with shield and sword/ and armor against the monster: when he comes to me/I mean to stand, not run from his shooting flames.” Beowulf feels no shame in using his armor to defeat the dragon.
(Lines 341-343). With this in mind, Beowulf lost that battle against Breca, but managed to defeat the sea creature and escape its attack in order to survive. In addition, Beowulf's bravery and courage shows that nothing nor anything is a match towards him. Therefore, Beowulf gathers up his men to head over to Herot because king Hrothgar is in need of help. Grendel the beast and villain of the poem has been terrorizing Herot by eating
Here, Wiglaf proves himself the better man because he has honor while the others, who willingly abandoned their King in battle, clearly do not. Lastly, Beowulf and Wiglaf both show outstanding loyalty throughout the piece. All of Beowulf’s actions are clearly motivated by loyalty, starting with his decision to help the Danes. Beowulf’s father once started a feud, which Hrothgar helped to end. Hrothgar recalls, “Ecgtheow acknowledged me with oaths of allegiance” (472).
In life there are people and there are other people who are extraordinary. These people risk their lives, are courageous, and go the extra mile for someone or something. These people are heroes. In the story Beowulf, Beowulf is a hero. He is considered a hero because he fits under each of these qualities.
(14) This tells me that he was brave and he risked his life to save others. In the article “What’s With These Guys?” Kristen Lewis, it explicitly states, “They risk their lives to protect the innocent and the vulnerable, often against seemingly impossible odds.” (18) Another way superheroes inspire us to be our better selves is to have compassion about others. According to the text in “What’s With These Guys?” Kristen Lewis it says, “When we see Thor try to save his brother even after he his brother betrayed him, we are reminded of the power of compassion and forgiveness.” (18) This explains to me that people can have forgiveness on things that would be really hard to forgive and be compassionate about other things.
The basic traits of being a hero are simple. You must have courage, selflessness, humility, loyalty, patience and care deeply about others. “A hero is a person or main character of a literary work who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through impressive feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength, often sacrificing their own personal concerns for a greater good. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero)”. One of the most important works in Old English literature is Beowulf, it is a great example of an epic hero.