This poem follows the life of Beowulf from that of a young and loyal Dane who becomes a great respected king and dies proudly, as a warrior. The warrior culture at this time reflects the values of the society of the 6th century. The Danes and Geats showed their loyalty to their leader by fighting for him, even to the death. The leader would then give them something in return like treasure or property for their deeds or achievements, which helped to improve their reputations. In regard to these important cultural values of that time, four of these values recur throughout this legendary poem: loyalty, violence, celebration and revenge.
In addition, in order for him to succeed he must orally deliver his resume. Nevertheless, bragging aside, Beowulf is undoubtedly a brave man. When Beowulf sets out to kill Grendel's mother he simply "donned his armor for battle, Heeded not the danger..." (1328-29 60). When his sword fails him he uses his physical strength: "On the might of his hand, as a man must do Who thinks to win in the welter of battle Enduring glory; he fears not death" (1420-23 62). Certainly he is in search of fame.
Beowulf is in search of fame; he gains it truthfully by battling with menaces to society and does not lie or manipulate to achieve this fame. Beowulf uses what is rightfully his, his bravery. Beowulf’s bravery differs from that of King Arthur’s for multiple reasons. King Arthur is a king; he must be brave for respect of the people, where as Beowulf’s bravery carries the story. King Arthur’s best value as a hero is his very natural and humble leadership ability.
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.
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.
. (Henry IV, Part 1, I.i.77-80) King Henry IV is stating that Hotspur represents honor; when honor speaks, it speaks of Hotspur. It makes him commit the sin of jealousy, because Hotspur is more honorable than his own son. This quote sets up Hotspur’s character, and foreshadows the contrast of him amongst the other characters in the play. Even though Hotspur gets a lot of glory from being a strong military leader [a trait that is valued very highly during his time], his attitude towards life is unbalanced because he identifies himself solely with his reputation of determination and honor.
A good king or warrior also pays wergild, the price a warrior pays to the family of a slain warrior. When Beowulf is first introduced in the poem, he is repaying a wergild that Hrothgar payed on his father, Ecgtheow’s, behalf. Beowulf possesses all of the qualities of a good warrior of this time period; he has a reputation for being strong and brave, and he is generous and loyal. He fights to avenge wrong doings, and he is better at it than anyone else. In this
Strong, noble, daring, loyal, courageous, confident; these are all traits that Beowulf, The Beowulf, possessed and used to command everything about him. Beowulf, he who is Evil's bane has perished now, but no! Don't dwell on those sorrows and instead look to his achievements! His purging of the Dane's kingdom of the terrible Grendel and his mother – all with his bare hands and skills, “Venturing closer, [Grendel’s] talon was raised to attack Beowulf, where he lay on the bed; he was bearing in with open claw when the alert hero's comeback and armlock forestalled him
Epic poems are mainly about heroes having adventures. Ideal values and behaviours are incorporated throughout in order to influence the warriors. The heroes in these poems are the ones that represent the ideal warrior, the one they must strive to be like. Epic poems were a civilizing influence since the ideal behaviours and values were present throughout, Beowulf being an example of this claim. First of all, the heroes demonstrated values that were considered important not only during fights, but also in daily life.
Emerson’s Qualities of Heroism | Does Beowulf exhibit this quality?Yes or No | Provide supporting evidence from the poem that supports your reasoning | Fights for what’s right, no matter the situation. | Yes | The odds didn’t look good for him against Grendel. | Attitude of a warrior. | Yes | When Beowulf is telling Hrothgar that he will beat Grendel with just him and his “earlsmen” he sounded brave and ready. | Obligation to fight evil and stand up for what is right.