Beowulf as a True Epic Hero
Beowulf as A True epic Hero What are the qualities of an epic hero? An Epic hero is a hero on a quest, with superhuman powers displaying courage, generosity, and loyalty. Translated by Burton Raffel, the epic story Beowulf is one of the best and well known epics of its time. In the novel Beowulf the epic hero Beowulf shows characteristics of courage, physical strength, loyalty, self-confidence, and wisdom, much like heroes today. In the epic Beowulf, the title character, shows his physical strength and courage in several ways. ‘Dripping with my enemies’ blood. I drove / [f]ive great giants into chains, chased / ll of that race from earth”’ (Beowulf 232-234). Beowulf boasts at his extensive bravery and initiative in battle by naming some of his impressive accomplishments. “‘In the blackest of night, hunting monsters / [o]ut of the ocean, and killing them one / [b]y one; death was my errand and the fate / they had earned ’” states Beowulf (Beowulf 235-238). Here Beowulf brags his bravery once more to tell of his journey and the lives he’s taken. ‘ My Lord Higlac / [m]ight think less of me if I let my sword / [g]o where my feet were afraid to, if I hid behind some broad linden shield: my hands alone shall fight for me… ”’ (Beowulf 248-252). Beowulf exhibits his courage by fearlessly offering to defend the kingdom in battle. “‘ I have heard / [t]oo that the monster’s scorn of men / [i]s so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. / Nor will I”’(Beowulf 245-248). Beowulf proves his extreme amount of courage with his offer to take on the monster without using any weapons, only physical strength to defeat him.
Even though Beowulf has a large amount of courage, he has the amazing physical strength to back it up. While physical strength and courage are essential characteristics of an epic hero, wisdom, loyalty and self-confidence also play a major role. “‘ Our errand / [i]s a great one, our business with the glorious king / [o]f the Danes is no secret, there’s nothing dark / [o]r hidden in our coming”’(Beowulf 165-168). Beowulf says that he’s not hiding anything, he comes with his men for business with the king, and he expects to do, and get, just that. ‘ And if death does take me, send the hammered / [m]ail of my armor to Higlac, return / [t]he inheritance I had from Hrethel, and he / [f]rom Wayland”’(Beowulf 265-268). Beowulf said that if there was anything that should happen to him, that is what he wanted to be done with his possessions. “‘ That this once favor you should not refuse me- / [t]hat I, alone and with the help of my men / [m]ay purge all evil from this hall”’(Beowulf 243-245). Beowulf asks for permission for he and his men to pass, with assurance to get all evil out. ‘ They have seen my strength for themselves, / [h]ave watched me rise from the darkness of war… ”’(Beowulf 230-231). Beowulf expresses his extreme self-confidence by telling tales of his people watching him overcome war. “ ‘ So Beowulf / [c]hose the mightiest of men he could find, / [t]he bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen / [i]n all, and led them down to their boat;… ”’(Beowulf 100-103). Beowulf exploits his wisdom in leading others by choosing the best of the available men and taking them on the journey to defeat the monster.
In the epic Beowulf, the characteristics of an epic hero are definitely shown. Minus the superhuman abilities, even today there are heroes amongst us. Firemen and Rescue workers are examples of modern day heroes. They are the people who go out each and everyday risking their lives striving to make our living environments and arrangements a safer and happier place. My personal hero is my mom. My mom is my personal hero because I admire her very much.
Throughout my entire life, my family has been broken apart several times, and my mom was always the one there to try and pick up the pieces for us, staying strong for everyone and herself. Having such an amazing person in my life to influence me has changed the person I am today. The epic novel Beowulf tells of a trying time for the Geats during the Anglo-Saxon times, with the superhuman abilities and all of the characteristics of an epic hero Beowulf has. The novel is a recommended “must read”. In closing , Remember kids’, Choose your men wisely, its who’ll be leading your army one day.