Beowulf Epic Hero
Mikayla Bird Beowulf, the great masterpiece of Anglo-Saxon literature, was everything an epic hero should be, but contained a few qualities that a hero should not posses. An Anglo-Saxon hero is a person who had good leadership qualities, is able and willing to provide people with a sense of security, and is willing to go into danger despite possible harm to themselves. (Anglo-Saxon Hero) Beowulf had to be willing to put his own life on the line for the benefit of others. For Beowulf to be a hero he must posses such as bravery, courage, strength, intelligence and honor.
He must also be pure at heart, fight for the good of mankind and only fight when it is to protect the people and not out of revenge. (Qualities of Hero) Beowulf exemplifies the archetypal epic hero in three ways. His characteristics show that he is significant and glorified, is on a quest, and has superior or superhuman strength. First of these Characteristics is Honor. Honor is showing a sense of honesty fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions. Beowulf showed honor, when he went to the land of the Danes to kill Grendel. He did not only do it for money, but because he wanted to help out the Geats.
Beowulf felt as if it was the right thing to do since he had been successful in past deeds which he proudly says in lines 321-322, where he says “They had in remembrance my courage and might. Many had seen me come safe from the conflict; Beowulf expected no reward for his action, but rather just being able to put another notch in his belt. ” (Anglo- Saxon Hero) Another heroic characteristic that Beowulf possesses is bravery. Bravery is by having the courage to do something and being able to go against the odds and possibly risk your life in the process.
Beowulf showed bravery when he goes to slay the dragon even though all his men abandon him. But as he goes to slay the dragon, he soon realizes that the dragon is mightier than he is, but he still has the courage to not back down to the dragon. In line 1493, he says “Not one foot’s space will I flee from the monster,” thus showing his true bravery by not giving up to the more powerful foe. (Anglo- Saxon Hero) One more heroic characteristic of Beowulf is his strong sense of duty. This means that he is always devoted to his people, his king, and their ecurity. An example of this is again when he goes to slay the dragon. He has no help, he realizes that the dragon is more powerful, and most importantly, he realizes that he will probably not be returning victorious from this battle. In other words, he will die. In lines 1470-1474, it says “Sad was his spirit, restless and ready, And the march of Fate immeasurably near; Fate that would strike, seek his soul’s treasure, And deal asunder the spirit and flesh. Not long was his life encased in the body! ”