Epic of Beowulf Essay - Qualities of a Hero
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Beowulf: Qualities of a Hero
A hero is someone that helps others no matter what the situation. There are many qualities that a hero must posses such as bravery, courage, strength, intelligence and honor. These qualities alone are not enough to make a hero. They 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. Beowulf is everything a hero should be, but contains a few qualities that a hero should not posses. When Beowulf sailed with his men to Herot he had one goal, to rid the hall of Grendal. Beowulf was under no obligation to destroy Grendal and never asked for anything in return for his services. A true hero would never ask for money or anything of value. He put his life at risk to save the people of Herot, who he didn’t even know, out of his own good nature Great strength has been a trait that has been identified with heroes in many stories and legends. Than he saw 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... (II. 1557-1560) Beowulf possessed great strength that separated him from other men. Being able to use a sword that no ordinary man was able to carry gives the feeling that Beowulf is something more than a human being. It makes him special and causes him to stand out from all other men. Fame is something that makes a hero more noted. Beowulfs popularity had spread all over the world. He never let this go to his head and he never thought that he was better than everyone else because of it. “Your fame is everywhere, my friend,/Reaches to the ends of the earth, and you hold it in your heart wisely...” (II.1704-1706). A hero should not be foolish or full of himself. Unferth said: You’re Beowulf, are you- the same Boastful fool who fought a swimming Match with Brecca, both of you daring and young and proud,exploring the deepest Seas, risking your lives for no reason But the danger? (II. 506-511) A hero should not have to prove to himself or to anyone else that he is brave, fearless or courageous. If he is pure a heart and his intentions are good then he can be considered a true hero.
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Epic Of Beowulf Qualities Hero Fight Hanging Carry Trait Lift Seas
By engaging in this foolish contest, Beowulf nearly got himself killed trying to prove he was better than Brecca. Jealousy is never a good trait, especially for a hero. Revenge is never a trait of a true hero. A hero has no scores to settle. A true hero should fight only to protect others and not out of his own rage. “The Geats/Deserved revenge; Beowulf Their leader/And lord, began to plan it...” (II. 2335-2337). Beowulf was simply trying to avenge the deaths of his men, but revenge and hatred make the strongest hero weak. That is why, I believe, Beowulf lost to the dragon. It wasn’t because he wasn’t strong enough or fast enough. The dragon was filled with evil and Beowulf was also filled with his own evil that he couldn’t control. Being that he was filled with good prior to this battle it lead to his demise. As Beowulf got older he became more sensible and wiser. When he fought Grendal there was no doubt in his mind that he could defeat him. He rushed into battle without a plan and without thinking. He had dropped his shield and helmet and went to fight almost unarmed. He new nothing of the dragon, it’s strengths weaknesses or powers. When he got older he was more sensible and wiser. He found out what the dragon was capable of and what it’s powers were. He knew that it could breath fire, so he got a shield that would protect him. He planed his attack and thought it trough carefully. He was doubtful about himself and knew that this battle would probably be his last. He wasn’t the head strong man that he had been. Beowulf was very heroic, but he lacked in areas that would qualify him as a hero. Many people considered him a hero, his followers, his subjects and those that met him. Even with his flaws I view him as a hero because a true hero isn’t perfect, according to Greek Mythology. A hero is what people see him as. The criteria for a hero is debatable, but for the most part the characteristics are the same.
Beowulf is an Epic Hero Essay
469 Words2 Pages
Every epic hero possesses certain heroic characteristics. The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf is the hero. He shows that he is a great man by always putting other things before his own needs. He is important and needed by his people and is known by many as a strong, courageous and a helpful person. He shows all of the qualities and traits that a true hero possesses.
Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities: epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They show great bravery, intelligence, strength and resourcefulness. They have a strong admiration for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they…show more content…
This shows Beowulf’s strength, courage and fearlessness. Through this it is evident that he possess courageous traits.
Beowulf’s strength is exemplified many times in the story. Beowulf was said to have “the strength of thirty men in his mighty handgrip.” He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. In his argument with Unferth, Beowulf explains the reason he lost a swimming match with his opponent Brecca. Not only had Beowulf been swimming for seven nights, he had also stopped to kill nine sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. Beowulf is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel’s mother, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster’s neck with a giant sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with no difficulty, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Heorot. This strength is a key trait of Beowulf’s heroism.
Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own. Beowulf’s uncle is king of the Geats so he is sent to help kill Grendel. His actions toward Grendel show that he is willing to help others. In an epic it is usually found that the hero often determines the fate of a nation or group of people. He uses his super-human physical strength