Beowulf the Epic Hero
Sandy Thongdyyarath Block 7 Beowulf the Epic Hero The Anglo-Saxons’s values are very different from our world’s values. They were a violent society that celebrated blood thirsty kings. In the epic poem of Beowulf the Geats’ king was Higlac. Egetho was Higlac’s brother, but he was also Beowulf’s father. This made Beowulf the nephew to the king of the Geats. Beowulf as royalty eventually becomes king of the Geats. Beowulf is king of the “Doom People”, because the Geats were eventually exterminated by Swedes. This made the Anglos-Saxons unsuccessful, since they cease to exist.
An epic hero is defined as someone who has legendary importance, their actions determine the fate of a group of people, and the hero performs almost superhuman like deeds against supernatural events. An epic hero not only describes Beowulf; he was a successful epic hero. During the Anglo-Saxons times, what you did wasn’t important, unless you boasted about it. To make a good deed official, one had to boast about it. Beowulf boasts about how he can destroy fear. Beowulf boasts about how he feared no men by describing times in war where he dripped with blood from other men.
He also boasts of a time when he killed the entire race of giants by conquering them. That showed Beowulf having no fear for the supernatural. Beowulf also boast of no fear for the natural world by telling the time of when he swam in the ocean in the dark of night and hunted the monsters known as narwhals and killed them. Beowulf also claims in his boast not only will he kill Grendel, but he will kill him with his bare hands. Killing Grendel is symbolic, because it represents the original sin which was cause by human hands, and Grendel is the primitive image of us, also our original sin.
This is a way figuratively for Beowulf to go back in time and squash the original sin with what caused the original sin. These ideas show how legendarily important Beowulf is, because Beowulf is portrayed as savior of human kind. Beowulf is successful in killing Grendel, and all is well. Then Grendel’s mother is thirsty for revenge. She comes back to the mead hall where her son was slay and takes back Grendel’s claw and kills a man in the process. Sorrow is once restored again, and Beowulf angered by his trophy being stolen, decides to kill the root of Grendel’s evil; Grendel’s mother.
The Danes and Geats are too scared to enter Grendel’s lair. The lair is hell. Grendel does the superhuman thing and enters hell to vanquish all evil at its source. Every epic hero must confront death and evil in hell. There is a dubious battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother, but with the power of spiritual strength, which in their times was to think of only fame, Beowulf wins the battle. Beowulf does the supernatural by defeating evil in hell. Beowulf is then king for fifty years and he is still seeing fame as a ring-giver. Then a dragon emerges from its lair and kills many of Beowulf’s people.
Beowulf ins now faced with old age and can’t win. He enlists thirteen men to help him. Beowulf is successful in killing the dragon with young Wiglar, but Beowulf receives a bite from the dragon, leaving him to die. Without their fond king Beowulf to protect them, the Geats eventually are exterminated by the Swedes. Beowulf is a successful epic hero, even though his people were not. Beowulf kept his people successful and alive for fifty years. As an epic hero he has legendary importance, their actions determine the fate of a group of people, and he performs almost superhuman like deeds against supernatural events.