Heroes have always been a part of the human caricature. Although, these heroes have not always been categorized in a similar way. Ideas about heroism changed from the Anglo-Saxon period through the Middle English period by the hero becoming a man with characteristics other than being brave. First, as the reader can view in Beowulf, a hero is someone that is a well-spoken, stronger-than-life, and an invulnerable man.
Focusing the reader’s attention on the great epic poem Beowulf, an unknown author, introduces the image of the tremendous Anglos-Saxon epic hero,Beowulf. Attributed with the 7 main characteristics that make him competent to fit in such category, for the purpose of bringing to their literature a mythical figure, destroying supernatural foes, with the craving of justice and honor for his own culture. Noble birthed, capable of deeds of great strength and courage, a great warrior, Beowulf, travels over a vast setting, being recognized as a hero, keeping his humility, in a story where this incredible character confronts every supernatural adversary, to defend his kingdom. So, to be worthy of this title, Beowulf along the poem has to show the different characteristics.
The epic poem “Beowulf”, translated by Burton Raffel, focuses on a hero by the name of Beowulf who goes on a quest to rescue King Hrothgar and his people from an egregious monster by the name of Grendel. This Anglo-Saxon tale gives insight into the values and beliefs of the people from whom the story originated. Their war-centered ideology and views on loyalty and courage were the principles that the Anglo-Saxon culture was founded upon. While warfare was a focal point in their lifestyle, it was far from a savage, barbaric state of fighting. Honor and prestige were bestowed upon those who died during battle and selflessness for fellow warriors was a fundamental belief.
Beowulf: A True Hero and His Journey to Glory The poem, Beowulf, by Seamus Heaney, depicts Beowulf as a perfect hero. Beowulf is the mythical son of Edgetho and later becomes the king of the Geats. In the poem, Beowulf shows heroism in two different stages of his life, youth and in his old age. Throughout the poem, Beowulf faces three major trials of strength and leadership with Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon.
An Anglo-Saxon Hero Over centuries, there has been a lot over different kind of superheroes that have been created. One of these heroes have been called Beowulf. Although Beowulf doesn’t show much of a Modern Day hero, he shows characteristics of an Anglo-Saxon hero. Beowulf shows Anglo-Saxon characteristics by showing us that he has bravery/courage, that he has loyalty to his lord/Lord, and that he had strength.
A brave and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or affected by grand events. Commonly epic heroes have superior strength, have strong love for their people, are fearless of death, and are very ethical people. The epic poem Beowulf describes a heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is almost invincible person with all the unseeming traits required of an epic hero. Beowulf is a perfect example of an epic hero who is a representative of his time because of his superhuman strength, his strong love for the people, his fearless of death, and his will to travel great distances for people he doesn’t know.
Throughout the poem Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, the main protagonist, Beowulf, embodies the heroism, courage, and cleverness of a great epic hero in his battling against Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. Similar to profound figures like Odysseus, Hercules, and Aeneas, Beowulf demonstrates characteristics of bravery and virtue during his adventures in liberating Heorot from Grendel and slaying the dragon to protect Geatland. By examining Beowulf’s valor, nobility, and ultimate sacrifice when facing his opponents, one can argue that Beowulf’s character is the quintessential epic hero, embarking on perilous quests for the betterment of mankind. After learning about the terror Heorot was facing from Grendel, Beowulf voyaged with his men to Hrothgar’s kingdom, vowing to face Grendel and allowing God to decide who will be victorious in battle.
Beowulf embodies many universal societal heroic values that are signified in the modern world like courage, bravery, and strength. In the poem, Beowulf displays courage. “Now, I mean to be a match for Grendel, settle the outcome in single combat” (Heaney 425-426). This quote shows courage because he’s telling them that he can fight Grendel and wants to weather he wins or loses.
A hero is a person, typically a man, who is loved for courage, outstanding qualities and great achievements. Beowulf displays many characteristics, but he mainly displays strength, bravery, and selflessness. Beowulf ‘s fanatic future's got him through horrifying battles and never got him to give up. Batman has never given up on Gotham city, even when he felt weak or even when other superheroes did not believe in him. Beowulf and Batman are heroes that are very flexible with things and they share the same characteristics.
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).
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’”
Beowulf is the epitome of the ideal Anglo-Saxon epic hero. The numerous amount of characteristics that he possesses benefit him in many ways, but eventually lead to his downfall. As depicted in Beowulf, translated by Seamus Heaney, the qualities found in Beowulf that were most admired by his society include inhuman strength, unreserved loyalty, and unending bravery. Beowulf was said to have inhuman strength amounting to “the strength of thirty in the grip of each hand” (380-381). Beowulf exposes this truth even further by dismembering the arm of Grendel, a devilish ogre brute, from his body.
“In Anglo-Saxon culture and literature, to be a hero was to be a warrior. A hero had to be strong, intelligent, and courageous” (Dogra 79). Furthermore, he had to be an honorable warrior who did not cower at the thought of an impossible battle. Rather, he trudged forward, prepared to the rattle cages of the strongest, evilest, and most damnable villains known to men. He personifies strength, loyalty, and bravery.