Heroic Code In Beowulf

Good Essays
Beowulf: Following The Heroic Code
Beowulf is the oldest work of literature recorded in the English language. In fact, if you tried to read the poem in its original format you would probably have a difficult time since it was written in Old English. The epic poem has gone on to shape today’s literature and be a foundation for countless other works. Beowulf is a story of glory, heroic battles, vengeance, and fearless warriors. The poem’s central focus is the noble warrior Beowulf and his accomplishments throughout the epic. Nonetheless, one of the most important components of Beowulf is the way that it depicts the heroes against the monsters. In this paper, I will argue heroes versus monsters by analyzing the differences and similarities between
…show more content…
First, we must recognize the qualities of a hero. Specifically, a Germanic hero. A hero will always follow a heroic code. Following the heroic code would mean being loyal, generous, and valuing vengeance. We see these characteristics in Beowulf and his actions throughout the poem. For example, Beowulf displays loyalty by offering his services to Hrothgar because he feels in debt to him since Hrothgar once helped Beowulf’s father in the past (page 49, line 375-6). Another honorable trait that Beowulf possesses is generosity. When Beowulf returns to his home,…show more content…
This also indicates that Beowulf kills for the purpose of battle and avenging the lives lost at the hands of Grendel. Lastly, we must analyze the monsters in the poem and how they are different and similar to the hero. Grendel is a chaotic monster that comes to Heorot Hall each evening to attack and feast on King Hrothgar’s people (page 44, lines 115-25). Grendel’s actions of killing demonstrate to the reader that he does not do this for any higher purpose other than to cause chaos, meaning he has no value for honor. Another heroic trait that Grendel does not possess is power of blood. In fact, Grendel shares this trait with his mother, another monster we encounter in the poem. Grendel and his mother are descendants of Cain (page 44, lines 105-14). This corrupts their bloodline since Cain is a figure portrayed negatively in The Bible due to killing his own brother out of envy and rage. However, the poem allows us to make similarities between the two monsters and Beowulf. Grendel and Beowulf are alike in their amount of strength. Grendel proves he is powerful of arm by grabbing thirty men all at once and butchering their
Get Access