The author of Beowulf uses literary devices such as symbolism, hyperbole, and personification to help characterize and reveal Beowulf’s identity. By his acts of courage, bravery, and arrogance, he became a great hero. In Beowulf, the author uses symbolism to reveal Beowulf’s character because when Beowulf arrived in Herot, he felt like he was at home and Hrothgar couldn’t thank him enough for traveling far to help him defeat Grendel.
The reason Beowulf would feel that Herot seems like home is because his father, Edgetho, went to war with the Wulfing Tribe, after killing one of their warriors, with Hrothgar fighting at his side after he seeked help from Hrothgar at his court which would make Beowulf feel like he owes Hrothgar a whole lot. Herot is a sign of symbolism because a “heorot hall” is also known as a mead hall. “Heorot” means hart and a hart is a male deer which get hunted by men and other predators over and over again which overall means Herot is intended to be attacked by Grendel numerous times.
The author also uses hyperbole to reveal and characterize Beowulf. “His mind was flooded with fear” (Beowulf 51) is an example of hyperbole because it’s describing that Beowulf is having fearful thoughts that are taking over his mind and using “flooded” is exaggerating the fact. The reason it’s exaggerating the fact is that when something or somewhere is “flooded” it means it’s over flowed or too full. Hyperbole helps reveal Beowulf’s identity by showing that not only is he courageous and strong, he also has a side of him where is he scared and doubtful.
Lastly, the author uses alliteration to characterize and reveal the identity of Beowulf. “Herot trembled, wonderfully built to withstand the blows, the struggling great bodies beating at its beautiful walls; shaped and fastened with iron, inside and out, artfully worked, the building stood firm. Its benches rattled, fell to the floor, gold-covering boards grating as Grendel and Beowulf battled across them. ” (Beowulf 52) Alliteration is used to reveal and characterize Beowulf by showing that even as strong as the author made him seem, even he couldn’t tear Herot down with the battle between him and Grendel.
He is strong to destroy what’s inside the mead-hall but isn’t strong enough to destroy all of Herot because only flames can completely destroy it. The way the author of Beowulf reveals and characterizes his identity is by using different sorts of literary devices. Out of the many literary devices he used, symbolism, hyperbole and alliteration were the devices that most helped reveal and characterize Beowulf’s character.