The Role Of Heroism In Beowulf

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“Beowulf” is rightfully credited as one of the most infamous literary works ever composed. Despite being composed in the Anglo-Saxon time period centuries ago, it remains an epic poem that is still prevalent in modern society. The poem narrates a great tale of heroism by the story’s protagonist, Beowulf. Beowulf’s heroic triumph the gruesome terror, Grendel, brings the Scandinavian Geats to a state of security and prosperity. The poem utilizes literary devices such as kennings and alliteration, and the five foundational epic hero qualities: hero is a descent of high position or nobility, hero possess historical or legendary importance, hero has character traits that reflect societal ideals, hero performs deeds requiring great courage and…show more content…
With cited Anglo-Saxon ties, it is highly plausible that the literary device of kennings can accredit its conception and origin to the legendary epic poem of “Beowulf”. The poem refers to all characters by their name and by utilizing the literary device of kennings throughout the epic. The “Almighty’s enemy” (Allen 48) is a kenning device that is used in place of the poem’s antagonist and the Geats’ feared terror, Grendel. The “Almighty” in this section refers to the poem’s hero and protagonist, Beowulf. This kenning is utilized during the Battle of Grendel when Beowulf finally defeats his gruesome, merciless enemy, Grendel. The poem also uses a kenning to describe Grendel’s mother as “The mighty water witch..” (Allen 54). At this point in the epic, Beowulf journeys to confront Grendel’s grief ridden mother to battle her in her watery, dangerous, lake dwelling. It is in this battle when Beowulf also defeats Grendel’s mother in a brutal, underwater brawl that ultimately thwarts Grendel’s mother’s vendetta to avenge her murderous son’s death. Beowulf is the poem’s hero who defeats both of these terrors of humanity within the epic. Due to his valiant and successful fighting mechanism that led to the defeat of the poem’s primary evils, Beowulf is dubbed “That mighty protector of men” (Allen 48) after his murder of Grendel. Beowulf is granted this honorary title due to his success in restoring peace and prosperity to the Geats, who were terrorized by Grendel for twelve years “Beowulf” is an excellent example of a literary piece that exemplifies the use of kennings and alliteration. Alliteration is a common literary device that is utilized in other realms in the literary world besides poetry. Alliteration is defined as “the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group
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