An epic hero is someone who has to preform heroic deeds. The King of Geatland at the beginning of the poem was Hrothgar, Beowulf is just a Geatish Warrior, once Beowulf finds out about Grendel attacking he steps in to help the tribe. Beowulf kills Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon in this poem. The battles Beowulf fought were beyond human strength and capabilities. Beowulf’s first battle was with Grendel, whose arm was ripped off with a pair of bare hands, this became his first heroic achievement.
To become a hero or heroine, one must participate in a process, or transformation, known as the Hero’s Journey. Mythologist Joseph Campbell found patterns in literature, better known as archetypes, concerning the monomyth, or a prevalent aspect in folklore. In other words, most stories are made of essentially the same elements, described as the monomyth. A common outline in tales involving a hero, the Hero’s Journey begins with escaping a dull world to enter the underworld. The traveler faces barriers prior to metamorphosing into a triumphant hero.
Not just through characteristics, but through Beowulf's struggle and endeavors throughout the story, it resembles that of an epic hero. J.R.R Tolkien suggested the theme that a ‘man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win’ states that Beowulf struggled in the hostile world, and in something he could not win; though he may have won battles through struggle, he never fully won. Being larger than life, going on a quest, and dying a symbolic death are the characteristics of an epic hero shown by Beowulf. In the theme of the story, the man alien was in a hostile world.
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.
Deeper Analysis of Beowulf Many works of literature undoubtedly contain a surface story often attempting to lure readers into completing the work. Concealed beneath the story can be many connections to other literature. The widely known, ancient epic poem Beowulf is no exception, many archetypes are constantly displayed along with the traits of an epic hero and epic poem.
Questions of Honor: Beowulf Beowulf’s honor and integrity can be questioned throughout the entirety of the epic poem, Beowulf. Whether or not his actions are inspired by his own pompous arrogance or confidence, one can argue that he is a hero nonetheless. Evidence and experience prove that Beowulf is more of a fearless hero than an excessively prideful man, and his hubris is more than justified due to the formidable duties he is able to execute. Throughout the poem, Beowulf expresses his intense strength and courage to the fearful people in the poem. His daring sense of self-assurance is backed by his victories against all three monsters, (even though he suffers a tragic death after facing the dragon, it is a defeat nonetheless).
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
A warrior’s utmost quest is acquiring glory before death. In Beowulf, the hero of this epic does not let obstruction hinder his pursuit of glory. Throughout the poem Beowulf, fights and defeats two monsters and a dragon with the help of no one. The thing that matters the most to Beowulf is accomplishing sempiternal glory and fame. Although glorified Beowulf seemed to have a ultimate longing for supreme glorification as seen through his three valiant battles.
The story of Beowulf successfully follows every step of an Archetypal Hero Quest; the hero, Beowulf, answers a call, makes a decision, prepares, faces obstacles, reaches a climax, and returns home. Beowulf is met with three large battles within Beowulf, first with Grendel, then with Grendel’s mother, and his last fatal battle, with a dragon. Each battle carries aspects that add to the Hero Quest but do not fully create one until all are together. The call is the beginning of a Hero Quest.
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.