What Makes Beowulf An Epic

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In the fifth century, around the time “Beowulf” could have taken place the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes pushed themselves into what is now Denmark bringing their epic stories. An epic, or long heroic poem, is the story of a great legendary warrior renowned for his values, courage, strength, and enemies. Since few people could write at this time they used oral tradition to pass down stories and, the Anglo-Saxons had scops or poet-singers to recites them for entertainment. Anglo-Saxons believed that if they had good values, courage, and strength then you would gain immortality for everyone would remember the hero’s achievements. There are many epic stories, but one that is considered to be England’s national epic is “Beowulf” for it was the first of its kind to be written in the English language. The poem was written in old English around 1000 AD by monks. Through out the poem “Beowulf”, the main character shows all those characteristics of an epic hero. In “Beowulf” the main character Beowulf shows how he has superhuman strength which is an important part of every epic story. The Anglo-Saxons believed that he had superhuman strength. Having superhuman strength is a major part of Beowulf characteristics for it was what set him apart from others throughout the poem. “Hands that moved thirty men’s strength,” Beowulf was praised for his strength. With his strength Beowulf is able to over come many obstacles that he encounters. Beowulf firsts shows this when he defeats Grendel in Herot, for the ring-giver Hrothgar in behalf of his king Higlac. Beowulf had killed Grendel with his bare hands in order to show his true strength. Beowulf exhibits his superhuman strength also when he kills Grendel’s mother with “A heavy sword/ Hammered by giants.” During this fight Beowulf also showed another superhuman quality of courage. Beowulf showed his superhuman courage when he

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