Beowulf: Epic Heroism Essay

1434 words - 6 pages

Emanuel Dozier
ENG271WEB
Dr. Willis
4/22/13

Beowulf: Epic Heroism

There are many answers people will give if they were asked the question what makes a good hero. If myself were asked what makes a good hero, my answers would simply say courage, morality, honor, strength, unselfishness, and loyalty. Reading all of the works this semester; analyzing the characters traits of heroism, without a doubt the poem Beowulf displays the most epic heroism of all the works from reading this semester. David Aaron White said it best in his article; “In the poem Beowulf, one's value as a hero is built on what he has done, and what he will do or the good of other people” (Literary analysis: Heroism ...view middle of the document...

He is willing to put himself right in the middle of Grendel and Heorot, and notice how he says privilege instead of service. That incident displays the moral values and the unselfishness to save others regardless of the outcome he may face. He mans up and saves Heorot from the violence of Cain’s desendent and does not expect to receive anything for his noble act. He shows his honor to in this fight, “Beowulf decides to fight Grendel without arms…. it will bring the hero greater honor to slay the foe with his bare hands; this is partly because it would be dishonorable to kill an unarmed man, no matter how dangerous or evil he might be” (Beowulf Commentary). He wants the fight to be fair and even, no advantages at all, like a true hero and a warrior should be to me. Also Grendel has never lost. His courage is just outstanding, “He knows that he may die in the attempt but doesn't back down, a clear example of his heroic qualities” (Literary analysis: Heroism as portrayed in Beowulf). Beowulf intentionally made it his issue taking Grendel away from the Danes Shoulders. Again it shows his moral values to help the Danes instead of just walking away.
Beowulf throughout the story continues to show why he fits my characteristics of a hero. When again, a monster, which was Grendel’s mother, ambushes Heorot. Beowulf shows his heroic characteristics again when he found her and just destroyed her. When he got access to a blade he yells out "With Hrunting, I shall gain glory or die" (146). What Beowulf‘s basically saying is, if he does not accomplish beating Grendel’s mother than he would just rather die. This encounter displays one of his moral values of righteousness or death that he follows. Also it displays his bravery and courage of not backing down from a fight and standing up to anything regardless of the outcome. He could take the safe route and let the Danes deal with their own issues, but his heroic passion of love and care for others just want let him take that route. Really do not see how anybody cannot admire heroism like this, simply amazing. He sacrifices his own life again by fighting Grendel’s mother because it’s helpful to others. If he destroys Grendel’s mother, she cannot bother Heorot again. Which is what heroic figure would want to do, and he did. His honor in the epic poem is incredible, he assists Hrothgar getting revenge, he says “Wise sir, do not grieve. It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning. For every one of us, living in this world means waiting for our end. Let whoever can win glory before death” (144). He is letting Hrothgar know that a true heroic warrior gets revenge for the lost of the people they love. It shows great loyalty.
One last example of Beowulf heroic ways that fits my characteristics is his amazing battle against the dragon. Right when the dragon makes his move and attacks Geatland, Beowulf bravely steps up and confronts the dragon. He shows his courage sacrificing...

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