Nina Ybarra Mr. Butler English 12CP 1-27-2015 Beowulf the Epic Hero A true hero does not fear death and will risk all that he is to protect people from great danger. Beowulf is an epic hero and tells a great story about a legend who overcomes all difficulties; almost as if he was immortal. All heroes share their characteristics of their preparedness to die, this is what marks their actions heroic. Throughout the epic Beowulf exhibits various characteristics that makes him an epic hero. One of the characteristics Beowulf demonstrations is his capability of deeds of great strength and courage.
The heroic ideal is perhaps the most important aspect of the Anglo-Saxon tradition. The poetry and literature of the Old English age celebrated heroic deeds and encouraged those listening to emulate heroic values at any and all opportunities. The epic poem Beowulf sets out to articulate this heroic code, which values strength, courage, and loyalty in its warriors. In contrast, John Gardner’s novel Grendel establishes a deconstruction of this heroic ideal. Through its exploration of various veins of philosophical thought, including nihilism and solipsism, Gardner’s work introduces alternatives and challenges to the practicality of heroism.
The most moral of them all was clearly the knight from the General Prologue. He displayed everything and more of what was expected from a knight. Chivalry, fidelity, and generosity were just a few of the characteristics that the narrator described of the knight, but the one thing that stood out about this knight was about his true loyalty to his sovereign. Due to his loyalty he was extremely valued, “full worthy was he in his sovereign’s war,” (Chaucer, “General Prologue” 2). He displayed his worthiness on the field of battle by not only fighting courageously, but also in a consistent manner, sticking by his sovereign’s side no matter the circumstances.
Anglo-Saxon Virtues in Beowulf Have you ever hear about Anglo-Saxon Virtues, things that made the epic poem Beowulf? Beowulf is an epic poem with the protagonist Beowulf, who is a hero who embodies the ideal characteristics in the Anglo-Saxon culture; these characteristics all come together to make up an epic tale. He possesses the virtues, honors, and glory that were respected in the Anglo-Saxon culture. In the epic poem Beowulf, beside the strongest of Beowulf and his virtues, there were other virtues that appeared. Beowulf and his people displays these virtues in his own actions and words during different circumstances throughout the tale.
He has superior physical strength, he is ethical, and he risks his life to save others whose lives are in danger. He also possesses the characteristics of the Anglo-Saxons. He loves law and liberty, has a great sense of fair play, loves adventures, is athletic and brave, is devoted to duty, believes in death before dishonor, and believes that loyalty is the most important virtue. Beowulf is essentially the good character because the poet makes references of him speaking about Christian beliefs. God would never be on the side of evil.
Beowulf could not fit the image, attitude, and qualities of an epic hero any more perfect. First, an epic hero may establish himself or herself through rigorous challenges. Any true epic hero would never back down from any challenge, as they want to establish themselves as the mightiest and the bravest. Beowulf shows this characteristic a multitude of times. The best example of Behold epic heroism is when he tells the story of his swimming challenge with Breca.
The succeeds, and becomes extremely famous. In the poem Beowulf, heroism is clearly portrayed. The poem was written in pre-medieval times- a time where heroes and warriors were greatly honoured and respected. A hero is someone who selflessly puts his or her own needs aside to do what is best for others. Beowulf shows many of these heroic qualities such as: selflessness, tenacity, and fortitude.
Character Traits of Beowulf In the tale of Beowulf, three character traits can be found. His loyalty, strength and bravery make him heroic. Beowulf is a true heroic character because he is willing to risk his life for his ideals. He is reluctant to back down from battle, just so he can be there for the people who are in great need to be saved. Once he makes a vow, he stands by his word, no matter the cost.
He travels far and wide, telling tales of his exploits and undertaking new challenges in the name of his king. Beowulf is a hero because he puts himself in harm's way for the benefit of others. Beowulf's first heroic exploit is his selfless defense of Heorot from the rampages of Grendel. Although Heorot is not his own hall, Beowulf is willing to protect its people and possibly die in the attempt. Upon arriving in Heorot, Beowulf announces, "And so, my request...is that you won't refuse me, who have come this far, the privilege of purifying Heorot.” (Lines 427-431).
Beowulf is a hero who embodies the ideal characteristics in the Anglo-Saxon culture; these characteristics all come together to make up an epic tale. He possesses the traits and beliefs that were respected in the Anglo-Saxon culture. Beowulf displays these traits in his own actions and words during different circumstances throughout the tale. Beowulf is shown to be the strongest among the strong. Physical strength was very much embraced by the Anglo-Saxon culture.