The Legendary Hero Beowulf is filled with many compelling characters. The epic poem was translated by Burton Raffel and Seamus Heaney. The most interesting character is Beowulf. Beowulf plays the bold hero in the historic story. He is an extremely honorable and extraordinary character filling the poem with excitement and adventure. Beowulf can be considered the perfect hero because he is strong, loyal, and courageous. Beowulf is known overall for his strength.
In a swimming match with Brecca, Beowulf boasts: “…No man swims in the sea / As I can, no strength is a match for mine. ” (ll. 266-267). He and Brecca swam “… for five long nights,” and Beowulf claims to have remained by his side (l. 277). Another ample account of Beowulf’s strength is the battle with Grendel’s mother. Beowulf sees “… hanging on the wall, a heavy / Sword, hammered by giants, strong / And blessed with their magic, the best of all weapons / But so massive that no ordinary man could lift / Its carved and decorated length. (ll. 633-637). Without a struggle, Beowulf removes this sword that is meant for giants, and kills Grendel’s mother. Beowulf’s strength never fails him; He is much more powerful than the average warrior. Beowulf’s loyalty is revealed by his commitment to his king, his host, and his men. Beowulf hears of the great king Hrothgar’s struggle with a monster “And quickly commanded a boat fitted out, / Proclaiming that he’d go to that famous king, / Would sail across the sea to Hrothgar” (ll. 112-115).
Beowulf graciously offers his aid in fighting the descendant of Cain with no hesitation. When tragedy strikes again, Hrothgar sends for the strong warrior: “… Our only help, / Again, lies with you. Grendel’s mother / Is hidden in her terrible home / …Seek it, if you dare! ” (ll. 563-566). Unafraid of the monster they speak of, Beowulf remains loyal to his host and goes to defeat Grendel’s mother. Beowulf unveils his courage in his final battle against the dragon. Fifty winters have passed, and his country calls upon him one last time.
He says to his men, “… This fight is not yours, / nor is it up to any man except me / to measure his strength against the monster / or to prove his worth. ” (ll. 681-685). The courageous man, hoary with age, is fatally wounded. Beowulf, with his life at an end, continues the fight until the dragon is dead. As his last courageous act, Beowulf gives his life in order to save his Geatish citizens. Strong, loyal, and courageous describe Beowulf as the perfect hero. Beowulf reveals his true qualities in every battle throughout the poem. He is a representation of good in every sense.
He is a faithful warrior who battles evil bravely, and maintains a safe place for his people. Beowulf is a classic example of good and the struggle between good and evil; and that good triumphs over evil every time. Works Cited Beowulf, Part One. Trans. Burton Raffel. Elements of Literature, Sixth Course. Eds. Kylene Beers and Lee Odell. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2007. 21-38. Beowulf, Part Two. Trans. Seamus Heaney. Elements of Literature, Sixth Course. Eds. Kylene Beers and Lee Odell. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2007. 43-48.