Beowulf’s father, Ecgtheow, “began the greatest feuds” for killing Heatholaf, and was denied by everyone except Hrothgar for refuge (16). Hrothgar not only helps Ecgtheow earn back his honor by paying off his debt for killing Heatholaf, but he provides Ecgtheow with enough money and resources to be able to return to home. Since Hrothgar showed Beowulf’s family a great deal of hospitality and generosity, Beowulf traveled to the Danes to return the same generosity and kill the monster that had been terrorizing and killing Hrothgar’s men. The monster Grendel, gives Beowulf a way to not only pay back Hrothgar’s kind act towards his family, but also a way to restore honor to his family name and improve his heroic reputation by killing this monster that has been undefeatable for twelve
This society was based on the qualities of courage, being amicable, and the biggest quality of all was loyalty. Even though, for the last battle of Beowulf the all left him alone with the monster except for Wiglaf. He is a very brave man but has flaws and temptations that become his downfall. Although, he was adulated by everyone for killing the monster, he knew that he was a bad king to his kingdom and wanted to make up for it by killing getting the treasure and giving it to the kingdom. In Beowulf, there were similarities and differences between the humanity
Beowulf’s father once started a feud, which Hrothgar helped to end. Hrothgar recalls, “Ecgtheow acknowledged me with oaths of allegiance” (472). Beowulf traveled with his men to fight a fearsome monster not for the glory of it but so that he could help his father to repay his debt. Many years later, Wiglaf shows his loyalty and devotion to his king Beowulf by following him into the fray when no one else did, promising, “I shall stand by you” (2668).
In the poem Beowulf, the character Beowulf had a desire for fame and earthly rewards. From driving five great giants into chains and hunting and killing monsters out of the ocean one by one, Beowulf will often boast in himself about his greatest accomplishments. However, Beowulf’s boasting and thirst for fame contradicts with the Christians beliefs of pride and eternal reward. Christians believe that a man should humble himself and never boast in his own accomplishments but always boast in the power of the Almighty. Often in the poem Beowulf, Beowulf has boasted in himself and his own accomplishments.
Beowulf, born in the land of the Geats, makes the voyage over to the Danes upon hearing the problems troubling the Danes. Even though Hygelac told Beowulf not to, Beowulf went on ahead and he proves his worth, both to his king and the Danes’ king. In the time of crossing the waters, Beowulf kills Grendel, Grendel’s mom, and then a dragon and he inspires one young man named Wiglaf. Wiglaf makes a valiant speech to get Beowulf’s men hustling in the line of defense, but ends up fighting alone. “He picked us out from the army deliberately, honoured us and judged us fit for this action, made me these lavish gifts- and all because he considered us the best of his arms-bearing thanes”
The Stories of Sigemund and Heremod: An Essential Digression in Beowulf It is not surprising that the Danes show immense admiration for the efforts of Beowulf so soon after his slaying of Grendel. Prior to his arrival at the Hall of Heorot Hrothgar's kingdom had been terrorized by the monster for twelve grueling years. The people were in need of a savior who could reverse their fate. Beowulf emphatically pronounces his "awesome strength" that had helped him in triumphs of the past.
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.
For instance, he demonstrates his loyalty to Rome by continuously defending them in battle, even after his promised term of duty has surpassed. Furthermore, he exhibits his compassion by praying for his men as they are sent on a final mission by Germanus. In this prayer he offers his own life to spare theirs.
Beowulf shows great loyalty to his family honor, his King, and his men, making loyalty a powerful inspiration for him to put others’ needs before his own. “Beowulf shows his loyalty to Hrothgar when he agrees to help him rid the castle of the monster, Grendel, who has been terrorizing the mead hall for the past twelve years, '' For twelve winters, seasons of woe, the lord of the Shieldings suffered under his load of sorrow.'' (http://study.com/academy/lesson/loyalty-in-beowulf.html)”. An excellent example of loyalty in Beowulf is when he is fighting the Dragon, all of his men flee except for one, “None of his comrades came to him, helped him, his brave and noble followers; they ran for their lives, fled deep in a wood.
Unferth taunts Beowulf, calling him vain and foolish for challenging Breca, who now has his own land, and has followers who love him. He also suggests that if Beowulf could not win a simple swimming competition, that he would “pay a heavy price” for taking on Grendel (18). Beowulf rebuttals Unferth claims, first by calling him drunk, but then by stating that he killed nine monsters and that “[n]either you nor Breca have yet dared such a deed with shining sword in battle” (20). Beowulf also asks Unferth if he is so brave why is Grendel is not dead yet then. The crowd is overjoyed by Beowulf’s confidence in defeating Grendel.
Additionally, Beowulf’s immense courage makes him fit for representing the ideal epic hero. Beowulf is brave and he does not avoid doing anything that might be dangerous or risky. Beowulf is even willing to give up his life, when he performs some of the courageous deeds. For example, when Beowulf plans to fight Grendel, he tells Hrothgar: “’the monster’s scorn of men / Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. / Nor will I’”
LAI: “... So massive no ordinary man could lift its carved and decorated length. He drew it from its scabbard, broke the chain on its hilt, and then, savage, now, angry and desperate, lifted it high over his head and struck with all the strength he had left, caught her in the neck and cut it through, broke bones and all….” Pg72.
Many time we are asked why we do the things we do. What is our motivation for the things we do? Does someone tell us it do it or do we do it because it’s fun? You can find motivation in many strange and different things. Motivation can be derived from family or friends, personal interest, and even conflict.
¨True heroism consists in being superior to the ills of life, in whatever shape they may challenge us to combat¨- Napoleon. Clearly, Napoleon is explaining that a hero will conquer any negative things in life that challenge them. For example, modern day superheroes always overcome their problems in life. Modern day superheroes such as Batman, Superman, and Spiderman fight the villains and grow superior to the negative aspects in their lives. Similarly, heroes in poems and books gain their heroic name by defeating the ills of life.
Sometimes ones greatest trait can also be the leading cause of their undoing. We see exactly that in the epic hero, Beowulf, of the anonymously written, Beowulf. As much as he is an epic hero, he is also a tragic one. His pride and excessive braveness lead him to fall while sacrificing himself to defeat a dragon, saving his kingdom. Creon of Sophocles' tragic play Antigone, deals with the same issue as Beowulf.