Seamus Heaney: Beowulf's Courage Makes An Epic Hero

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Beowulf’s Courage Makes an Epic Hero A good example of an epic hero is from the epic poem Beowulf, written by Seamus Heaney, focusing on the titular character Beowulf because he is known for his courage which is used to create more characteristics that an epic hero should have. The best place to start is with an example of Beowulf valuing his courage, where Jones reminds the reader “Beowulf himself speaks to this importance of courage when arguing with Unferth” (Jones 3). Another good example is in the packet The Middle Ages: The Epic Hero, where Jones states that an epic hero “has 12 main characteristics, including being strong, courageous, and self-sacrificing” (Jones 2). First of all, Beowulf’s courage helps him have the strength to be in a battle against his enemies. For instance, before fighting with Grendel, Beowulf says “Unarmed he shall face me / if face me he dares. And may the Divine Lord / in His wisdom grant the glory of victory / to whichever side he sees fit” (684-687). Of course, this means that Beowulf has enough courage to be strong and fight Grendel without any weapons. Therefore, his courage helps build up another characteristic that makes up an epic hero, which is his strength. In the same light,…show more content…
Thomas C. Foster states, “The thing we share is our death” (Foster 14). In addition to the first two, a line reads “They had killed the enemy, courage quelled his life... / ...but now, for the king, / this would be the last of his many labours / and triumphs in the world” (Heaney 2706-2711). Jones even talks about this, stating “The epic hero has a protective nature and willingness to help others with their problems” (Jones 4). Of course, Beowulf sacrifices himself to defeat the dragon, delivering the fatal blow with Wiglaf’s help. In total, Beowulf’s courage makes him fight the dragon at the cost of his own life, showing his

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