Friday, December 23, 2011

Beowulf

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Beowulf Heroic Man





The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of a hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters hideous monsters and the most ferocious of beasts but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are superb and he is even able to boast about all his achievements. Beowulf is the ultimate epic hero who risks his life countless times for immortal glory and for the good of others.


Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. 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 simple swimming match with his youthful 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, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendels mother, who is seeking revenge on her sons death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monsters neck with a Giants sword that canonly be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall. This strength is a key trait of Beowulfs heroism.


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Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his peoples welfare before his own. Beowulfs uncle is king of the Geats so he is sent as an emissary to help rid the Danes of the evil Grendel. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking help from no one. He realizes the dangers but fears nothing for his own life. After Beowulf had served his people as King of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon who is frightening all of his people. Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon in order to protect his people. Even in death he wished so secure safety for the Geats so a tall lighthouse is built in order to help the people find there way back from sea.


The most heroic of traits within Beowulf is that he is not afraid to die. He always explains his death wishes before going into battle and requests to have any assets delivered to his people. And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac, return the inheritance I had from Hrehtel, and from Wayland. Fate will unwind as it must! (18) He is aware of the heroic paradox; he will be glorified in life or death for his actions. He knows that when he fights an enemy like Grendel or Grendels mother he will achieve immortality as the victor or the loser. When we crossed the sea, my comrades and I, I already knew that all my purpose was this to win the good will of your people or die in battle, pressed in Grendels fierce grip.Let me live in greatness and courage, or here in this hall welcome my death! () Even with the enormous amount of confidence Beowulf possesses, he understands that Fate or Wyrd will work its magic no matter what and he could be killed at any point in his life. He faces that reality by showing no fear and preparing for a positive or a fatal outcome.


Beowulf is the prime example of an epic hero. His bravery and strength surpass all mortal men; loyalty and the ability to think ofhimself last makes him reveared by all. Beowulf came openly and wholeheartedly to help the Danes which was an unusual occurrence in a time of war and wide-spread fear. He set a noble example for all human beings relaying the necessity of brotherhood and friendship. Beowulf is most definitely an epic hero of epic proportions.Beowulf - Hero of Epic Proportions


Beowulf is “the strongest of the Geats -- greater / and stronger than anyone anywhere in this world” (ll.110-111). Even though he is famous for his massive strength, Beowulf has other attributes that are noticeable other than his strength. These attributes, arrogance, bravery, and a strong love for his people are what make Beowulf become such a powerful, epic hero. Beowulf is arrogant. He constantly brags about his supreme strength. The “strongest man alive” lets people know that he is the most powerful person around by saying, “no strength is a match for mine” (l.67). Beowulf does not think that he could ever be destroyed by anything. He obviously never questiones how his fighting ability would be when he was around seventy. Since Beowulf is convinced that God is watching over him, his ego makes him act as if he is invincible, because of the idea that he has a guardian angel. But, as Beowulf gets older, wiser, and fights in more battles he should realize that there was a possibility that he can die. Beowulf also boasts about his many battles, and is proud of himself for winning all of them. One of these triumphs is the battle in the water when he meets up with nine sea monsters which he killeds, and fights with a monster that is digging its jaws into Beowulf’s flesh. Beowulf proclaims that “ I fought that beast’s last battle, / left it floating in the sea” (ll.0-1). This epic tale reads that while Beowulf is in battle with Grendel’s mother, all he cares was about the fame he would get for defeating her. Unferth thinks that Beowulf was arrogant, by saying, “ You’re Beowulf, are you the same / Boastful fool who fought a swimming / Match with Brecca” (ll.-41). Yes, Beowulf is a boastful fool that loves the attention that his strength gives him. A strong man and an arrogant one, Beowulf is also brave. Even after all of the horror stories that he hears about Grendel, he still fights the cursed beast without any hesitation. When he battles with Grendel, he does it without the things that everyone else would use--weapons. This shows that Beowulf is not scared of anything in the world. He also must be brave to fight a sea monster after swimming in the ocean for days. He went straight into battle exhausted, from the strenuous journey across the ocean. The bravery that he possesses, along with an arrogant mentality that no one can defeat him keeps Beowulf from quitting at a time that anyone else would. In addition to being brave, Beowulf thinks of his people all of the time. Even when he was not a member of the clan, he still fought for them. He cares if they are being terrorized or killed, and shows his love by endlessly going into fights, each battle tougher than the one before. Even when he is dying after his battle with the dragon, all that he thinks about is the treasure that his clan would be able to use to their advantage. The leader of the Geats even thanks God for letting him help his people while he lived. He gives them the bravest leader under him in Wiglaf, which was the best gift for his people, since like Beowulf, Wiglaf was brave. To be a real hero, Beowulf needs to have some kind of personality to make him a man of epic proportions. Beowulf is arrogant, but through all of his arrogance, he still has a kind heart, is brave, and cares for his people. A person who upholds these qualities is truly a hero and a great example for all of mankind to look up to. People in this world should also mold their hearts after a person like Beowulf, because even though he is not perfect, he still strives to be the strongest, and has the biggest heart known to Herot, and the world.


An epic is a long narrative poem on a serious subject. It usually is about the adventurers of a hero. The hero is usually a figure of high social status and one who is often of great historical or legendary importance. In the epic poem Beowulf, 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 courageous and helpful person. Beowulf is a good example of a courageous and strong hero. He shows all of the qualities and traits that a true hero possesses.


Beowulf is a very brave and courageous person. His actions toward the monster Grendel that was terrorizing the Danes 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. Beowulf has definitely helped the Danes and his own people the Geats in their triumph over evil by killing Grendel his mom and the dragon. He has helped mankind a great deal and because of that he is made king of the Geats. Beowulf’s brave deeds and accomplishments have contributed to the Danes and the Geats survival.


Another characteristic of and epic poem is that the hero performs outrageous and sometimes superhuman deeds. Beowulf is a prime example of this type of hero. He volunteers himself to fight Grendel and when Grendel’s mom seeks revenge he goes to the lake and takes on the challenge. He shows the great qualities of strength and power when, after fifty years, he takes on the dragon who has become a threat to the Geats. He always battles his enemies with pride. When Beowulf and wiglaf fight the dragon and everyone else becomes cowardly and runs off to the forest and hides. Through this it is shown that they possess courageous traits and are genuinely ready and willing to help.


Often in an epic poem, the plot is complicated by supernatural beings and events. Good examples of this are when Beowulf fights Grendel. Grendel is a monster and there is no such thing as a monster. The same goes for the dragon. Throughout history there has never been a dragon that gets mad that a thief has taken part of his treasure. Also when Beowulf is dying he asks Wiglof to show him the treasures before he dies. Everyone knows that you can not hold off your death just so you can see treasure. These examples show the complications that are found throughout the plot of an epic poem.


An epic poem usually presents the situations of good and evil and life and death. The epic poem Beowulf possesses both of these things. The good is shown through the actions of Beowulf and Wiglaf when they defeat the evil, who are shown by Grendel, his mom, and the dragon. Good and evil always leads to life and death. The good live and the evil die most of the time. In Beowulf the good defeated the evil. Beowulf was known by the Geats and the Danes as a very generous, kind, and strong person, who would give anything for the Survival of the people. These characteristics are what help to classify Beowulf as a true epic hero.





Beowulf Hero-elegaic


Beowulf is one of the oldest existing poems in the English language. Originally written in Anglo-Saxon, it has been translated to give readers the opportunity to enjoy this colorful, heroic poem of England’s epic age. It has been declared as a heroic-elegaic poem because of the various characteristics it clearly possesses. An epic consists of a hero who is larger than life. Beowulf is unquestionably a perfect example of this hero because of the amazing acts of heroism he commits. Epic characters also give numerous speeches that revel something about the past or the speaker’s characteristics. Beowulf does not give many, but from those he gives, the reader leans about his character traits. The language of the epic style is an elevated, rather formal language. Similes, kennings, and many other literary techniques are used throughout the poem. Beowulf clearly contains many epic characteristics and the following essay will present the evidence needed to support this allegation. Firstly, epic characters hold high position�kings, princes, noblemen, and members of the aristocracy�but the epic hero must be more than that. He must be able to perform outstanding deeds, be greater than the average character, and be of heroic proportions. Most of all, he must have super-human courage. The poet first describes Beowulf as ...greater/And stronger than anyone anywhere in this world (Raffel 15-16), without informing us about what he did to acquire this reputation. The reader initially sees him through the awestruck eyes of the Danish soldier patrolling the cliffs. Beowulfs appearance--his size, his armor--obviously commands immediate respect and attention. When asked by the soldier to identify himself and give detail of his visit, he says he is not there to challenge Hrothgar’s power but to perform a task to the lord. He respects the legitimacy of Hrothgar’s kingship and has no intention of usurping the throne. He preforms in the same honorable manner when he refuses the kingship after Hygelac’s death. He accepts the crown only after Hygelac’s son is killed in battle. Beowulf’s super-human courage is shown when he went into battle with Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon. He shows he is fearless when he says, “I’d use no sword, no weapon, if this beast/ Could be killed without it, crushed to death/Like Grendel”(Raffel 518-50) before he fights the dragon, which ultimately kills him. Epic characters generally deliver numerous speeches, all of which move the action forward, tell something about the past, or reveal the speakers character traits. Sometimes the hero’s character traits are reveled in speeches by other characters. Beowulf does not give many speeches, but from those he gives, a lot is learned about his character traits. The reader learns about his character from the speeches he makes to the soldier and to Wulfgar, the Danish warrior who again asks the Geats to identify themselves. Beowulf--anxious to meet with Hrothgar, from whom he hopes to receive permission to battle Grendel--is courteous, patient, and diplomatic. Beowulf says “That this one favor you should not refuse me--/That I, alone and with the help of my men, /May purge all evil from this hall”(Raffel 40-4) showing that this deed is a favor to the people. His manner lacks the rudeness and coldness of a person whose previous accomplishments make him feel superior to other people. His fame as the worlds bravest person hasnt gone to his head. The language used in epic style poems is that of a higher language. The epic poet makes use of literary techniques such as similes and kennings. For example, “The ship foamed through the sea like a bird” (Raffel 18) is one of the similes that can be found in this poem. The poet is comparing the motion of the ship to the movement of a bird. An example of a kenning would be “…after nightfall, when Hrothgar withdrew from the/Hall” (Raffel 14-15). Kennings are compound words that describe something by its characteristics. These literary techniques make the language of an epic a rather elevated, formal language. Beowulf clearly contains the elements needed to classify it as an epic. Not only does it contain a larger than life hero that delivers numerous speeches that reveal his character and a higher class language, but it also possess many other characteristics that are important to an epic. Originally written in Anglo-Saxon, Old-English , it has been translated for all to enjoy.


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. 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. 5-7). 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 Heroes � Then and Now


Heroes today have changed from those of Beowulfs day. Back in the time of Beowulf heroes were mainly the protectors of the country such as warriors and kings. The roles have changed today were heroes consist of celebrities and sport players. The roles have changed because our society has changed as well. In the time of Beowulf the kings were of the utmost of importance. Without a king the country was sure to fall into ruins. The kings duty was to protect the country. He did this by keeping up with the wars of the surrounding country and finding warriors to protect the country. The king was highly respected and he had a very important job. Without the king there was no hope for the country. Today really is not all that different, instead of a king we have a president. Our president must still keep up with the foreign affairs including wars in order to protect our country. He must also be able to foresee any affect that foreign affairs might have on the country in the long run. It is out presidents responsibility to ensure that our military divisions, including the airforce, navy, and army, are prepared and able to defend our nation or our nations allies. In the epic, Beowulf, heroes were also warriors. These warriors were supposed to protect the country against monsters and invasions. The warriors were strong men who could physically make an attack or prevent an attack in order to protect their country. Beowulf was a warrior who was a hero to the country where the Danes lived. Beowulf was able to protect and serve the Danes by killing Grendel. Grendel was an evil monster who had been killing the people that had been sleeping in the hall that he haunted. Beowulf became a hero by not only killing Grendle but also by tearing off his shoulder arm and claw with his bear hands. This is an amazing feat that an ordinary man could not accomplish. To kill a monster with ones bear hands is simply unheard of! Today our heroes do not normally consist of a warrior as much as a sports player. They too, like the warrior, do things that the ordinary man could not do. Accomplishing unordinary feats is how they earn the respect of the nation. Their job is also equally important as the warrior because they allow people to escape their problems and lives for a while they watch the sport. Mark McGuire is a hero in the sport of baseball team the Cardinals. Mr. McGuire has hit more homeruns than any other man in the major leagues has ever hit in one baseball season. He became a hero by accomplishing such a respectable feat and still being kind to all including his family that he care a lot for. Not only did he keep our interest in the game to see how many homeruns he would get, but he also brought the love back to out national past time. In the year before the country lost respect for baseball when a baseball strike had ruined the season. In bringing back the love for a sacred sport Mr. McGuire earned the counties love and respect. Another great warrior was a man named Wiglaf who tried to save Beowulfs life. Beowulf ran into trouble when he was fighting an evil dragon. He had gotten older had had not ever fought a fire breathing dragon before. All of Beowulfs warriors deserted him except for one, Wiglaf. Wiglaf was unable to save Beowulfs life but he kills the dragon and fulfills Beowulfs last request. He builds a monument for Beowulf and Wiglaf became king. Today the story is slightly different but equally enjoyable. Sammy Sosa is a baseball player for the Cubs, a rival to the Cardinals (Mark McGuires team). Mr. Sosa is a hero because he too beat the previous record for home runs in one baseball season. Although he was battling with Mr. McGuire to make the new home run record the two players kept it friendly and professional only wanting the better man to win. Mr. Sosa also helped to bring enjoyment into the game of baseball. Mr. Sosa also helped to remind us on how important it is to be kind even if the battle is between two heroes who both desire to win the fight. Throughout time the roles that heroes play in our lives have changed but they are still important to our countries. Beowulf and Wiglaf protected their country and people. Just as importantly Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa brought enjoyment and a break from hectic lives to our country. Even thought the roles have changed for the heroes throughout time their importance to the countries has not gotten smaller. Heroes today are as important as they were in the time of, the hero, Beowulf.


Beowulf Code of Honor


After fighting and winning many battles, Beowulfs life enters a new stage when he finally becomes king of his homeland, Geatland. Even in his old age, his code of honor still obligates him to fight against an evil, fiery dragon. For fifty years he has governed his kingdom well. While Beowulf is governing, the dragon ...kept watch over a hoard, a steep stone-barrow (Norton 55). Under it lays a path concealed from the sight of men. Over centuries no one had disturbed the dragon’s kingdom until one day when a thief broke into the treasure, laid hand on a cup fretted with gold, which infuriated the dragon. The fiery dragon had destroyed the peoples stronghold, the land along the sea, the heart of the country (Norton 57).


Beowulf is an epic poem that was written in the late tenth-century, at the kingdom of the West Saxons. The two main characters are Beowulf, a young man; and Grendel, a furious dragon. Beowulfs world is a very violent society with wars as a dominant part of daily life. Dragons and monsters are a constant threat to the Danes and the Geats. Warriors are a necessity to this war-like society. Beowulf is a hero as well as a great, and honorable, warrior.


After fighting and winning many battles, Beowulfs life enters a new stage when he finally becomes king of his homeland, Geatland. Even in his old age, his code of honor still obligates him to fight against an evil, fiery dragon. For fifty years he has governed his kingdom well. While Beowulf is governing, the dragon ...kept watch over a hoard, a steep stone-barrow (Norton 55). Under it lays a path concealed from the sight of men. Over centuries no one had disturbed the dragon’s kingdom until one day when a thief broke into the treasure, laid hand on a cup fretted with gold, which infuriated the dragon. The fiery dragon had destroyed the peoples stronghold, the land along the sea, the heart of the country (Norton 57).


Beowulf prepares to fight a dragon with his thane, Wiglaf. Beowulf has no fear of the dragon, because he has fought many enemies that were much more ferocious. One example of Beowulfs great battles is the fight with Grendel. No one other than Beowulf is brave enough or strong enough to volunteer to fight Grendel. Wiglaf is the only person who stays with Beowulf to serve his lord and to fight the dragon. Everyone else becomes cowardly and runs into the forest to hide from the dragon. It turns out that Beowulfs sword cannot even penetrate the dragon. The dragon gets the best of Beowulf, he seized all his neck with his sharp fangs he was smeared with life-blood, gore welled out in waves (Norton 6). Wiglaf, then, summons his wits and they killed the dragon The wound which the dragon had dealt him began to burn and swell; at once he felt dire evil boil in his breast within him(Norton 6). Our hero is finally defeated. Even though he is seriously injured, he still had the strength to break the fifty-foot dragon in half. He knows that his life has ended, and with it, all the joy of his years on earth. The days are done, death most near. Beowulf then says, now I would wish to give my son my war-clothing, if any heir after me, part of my flesh, were granted (6). Beowulf is saying that if God had granted him a son that he would be the first one to receive his armor and sword. Beowulf is then at peace.


Beowulf sends Wiglaf to look at the hoard under the gray stone (6). He tells Wiglaf to move quickly so that he may see the beautiful jewels that were kept and watched by the dragon. When Wiglaf enters the hoard, the beauty of the jewels astonishes him. He says that there are many precious jewels, glittering with gold lying on the ground, wonders on the wall(6). There are many rusty helmets and many twisted arm-rings. There is a golden standard lighting the hoard completely. Wiglaf is eager to return and tell his lord what he has just seen. When Beowulf sees the treasure, he says I speak with my words thanks to the lord of all for these treasures...for what I gaze on here, that I might get such for my people for my death-day(Norton 6). Beowulf is saying that he will not be satisfied until all his people receive these precious treasures.


Beowulf then proceeds to take off his necklace, giving it to Wiglaf. This signifies that Beowulfs life is ending and he wants to pass on his legacy to his followers. Beowulf tells Wiglaf that he is last one left of the thanes and it is now his job to carry on the tradition Fate has swept away all my kinsmen, earls in their strength, to destined death. I have to go after (Norton 6). Beowulf is saying that fate has taken the lives of all of his kinsmen and he must go as well. That is the last word spoken by Beowulf. His soul lifts from his body to seek the doom of those fast in truth (6). He must find a new adventure destined for him.


There was a time in history when fear was the only thing to look forward to. Warriors were a necessity in these constantly warring societies. Beowulf is a hero and a great warrior. Beowulf never rests until his people have the treasures. Before death, Beowulf displays great honor when he removes the necklace from his neck and gives it to his thane, Wiglaf as a symbol of his life, pride and kingship. This poem tells about a time in history that few people know about, or have even heard of, yet the message of heroism and honor rings as clear in this millennium as it did in the millennium in which it was written.


1. Underline the titles of novels.


. Most of your paper is a plot summary. Try not to re-tell the story. Instead, why is Beowulf compelled to fight the dragon? What is his “code of honor?” “How is Beowulf heroic?” “Why doesn’t anyone else help Beowulf fight the dragon?” “How does this make Beowulf a great and honorable warrior?”





A hero is a person of distinguished courage who has outstanding qualities and abilities, who is admired for these having these aspects of their character and also admired for brave and noble acts. An Anglo-Saxon hero is a person who has 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. These Anglo-Saxon heroes usually were kings or thanes because they distinguished themselves above others by doing a good for the greater of everyone. This person has to be willing to put their own lives on the line for the benefit of others. There are several heroic characteristics, all of which Beowulf possesses. First of these characteristics is honor. Honor is showing a sense of integrity in one’s actions. When Beowulf went to the land of the Danes to kill Grendel, he did it not because he wanted 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 1-, 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.” Another heroic characteristic, which Beowulf possesses, is bravery. Bravery is being able to go against the odds and possibly risk your life in the process. An example of Beowulf showing bravery is when he goes to slay the dragon even though all his men abandon him. He realizes that the dragon is more powerful than he is, but he will still not back down. In line 14, 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. 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 security. 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!” This basically means that Fate was soon to run its course and he would loose his life in battle. He had to and did go along with this because he was the king and it was his responsibility to provide security for his people. Even though it was his responsibility, he didn’t have to do it; he could have run away like others may have. Overall, a hero is a person with distinguished qualities who goes against adversity to commit good deeds despite what could happen to them. A hero is a person who does things out of honor, bravery, and duty, not for rewards. Beowulf encompasses all of these qualities. Word Count 55


Beowulf As An Epic Hero


Every epic hero possesses certain heroic characteristics. Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They have a noble birth and show great bravery. They display great intelligence and resourcefulness. They have a reverence for G-d and for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they conquer evil (Vivone /7/). In addition to Beowulf’s heroic qualities, he is very strong. Beowulf was said to have “the strength of thirty [men] in his mighty handgrip” (Bloom 11). Early proof of Beowulf’s extraordinary strength is evidenced by his dismemberment of Grendel’s limb, the fight in the cave under water, and the magic sword (Klaeber xiv). Beowulf partook in many supernatural battles and events. The demeanor of Beowulf is considered a main fantastic element. When Beowulf fights Grendel and Grendel’s mother, he is immortal. Then, suddenly, he becomes mortal and falls to the dragon (Klaeber xxiv). In Beowulf, marvelous elements are everywhere. They include a fire breathing dragon and sea monsters (Burlin 11). There are additional examples of the use of fantastic elements in Beowulf. Beowulf single-handedly carrier thirty suits of armor from the battlefield in Frisnia and swims with them through the North Sea and the Skagerrak to Geatland, a distance of five hundred miles (10). In Beowulf’s early life, he swam for five to seven days with his companion Breca, killing sea monsters by night. During his swim match with Breca, Beowulf dressed in full armor, was attacked by nine sea monsters and killed them all. Grendel is a monster, who occupies a human-like form; he is devilish and is a descendant of Cain. He is “the guardian of sins”. He is similar to Satan, because he is superhuman in size and strength and is hostile towards man. Grendel kills mortals by devouring men whole. Grendel has terrorized Herot for twelve years. Grendel attacks only one night; one time he grabs thirty people and takes “his slaughtered feast of men to his lair’ (Bloom 10). Grendel eats the flesh and blood of men and enters their houses by way of doors (Nicholson 74). Before Beowulf attempted to rid the land of Grendel, men tried to slaughter him, “but their points could not hurt him, the sharpest and hardest iron could not scratch at his skin” (48). Beowulf kills Grendel by first watching his attack. Beowulf grabs hold of Grendel’s claws and finally rips off his arm. In the morning, warriors look for the body of Grendel by following his bloody trail. They cannot find his body and turn back. Hrothgar’s men finally think that they no longer will be plagued with the presence of the monster and that now they can sleep in peace. However, their sleep did not last long. During the night, Grendel’s mother came to avenge her son’s death. She enters the hall and grabs Aeschere and her son’s arm. Beowulf goes to follow her and swims for an entire day in her pool before he sees the bottom of the mere. When Beowulf descends into Grendel’s mere, he loses ground as the fight progresses. It is then assumed that Beowulf is fighting desperately for his life. Then, the water closed over him. It was “the space of a day,” before he could see the bottom of the mere (Burlin 11). The hero’s physical powers grow far beyond human dimensions. Beowulf is about to attempt to use a weapon although they were useless against her; “then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy sword...but so massive that no ordinary man could life its carved and decorated length” (7). Once he is in Grendel’s mother’s mere, Beowulf remains underwater for more than a day (Burlin 10). Finally, Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother, and her blood melts his sword (Bloom 16). Thus far, Beowulf has killed two man-like monsters. Beowulf’s last battle with a dragon is the final substantial fantastic element in this epic poem. W.P. Ker, a nineteenth-century critic, asserts the dragons are commonly fit for fables and contain more of a fantastic nature than Grendel does. He believes that Grendel is much better suited than a dragon; however, a dragon turns up in Beowulf. Dragons are more often seen as fabulous monsters because they do not exist as part of the environment (6). Dragon fights and fire-breathing dragons were prevalent in medieval literature. Too much time was spent on the details of the dragon in this epic poem (Klaeber xxi). For instance, “If the dragon is the right end for Beowulf...then Grendel is an eminently suitable beginning. They are creatures [enemies of mankind] of a similar order and kindred significance. Triumph over the lesser and more nearly human is cancelled by defeat before the older and more elemental” (Nicholson 86). When Beowulf has failed to kill the dragon, “with all his strength, [he] smashed the gray blade into the beast’s head. But then Nagling broke to pieces...” (106). Then, Beowulf uses his dagger and “quickly cut the beast in half, slit it apart” (107). Conquering all evil, Beowulf leaves his people safely, while he dies next to Wiglaf in excruciating pain. Therefore, fantastic elements appear throughout Beowulf and serve to display the heroic qualities of the epic’s protagonist. Fantastic elements are supernatural or superhuman events that cannot be explained and that exist beyond nature. Beowulf is seen to be a superhero because of the feats and tasks he engages in that appears to be fantastic in nature. Analyzing Beowulf’s three battles, one can easily see fantastic elements in this epic poem. The battle with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon display an array of fantastic elements. The reader must remember not to ask questions about how anything described are possible. Man cannot explain any fantastic element because it is beyond nature’s control. Beowulf’s heroic qualities are further exemplified by the use of fantastic elements.


Word Count 87


Beowulf Is Heroic


Beowulf Embodies Heroic Ideals critical (question1, p6 In Beowulf the classic epic, Beowulf, the hero of the epic, and other major characters reflect heroic ideals and beliefs of courage, generosity, unquestioning loyalty and devotion. Courage is most evident throughout Beowulf Beowulf does not back down from any challenge that stands in his way whether it be Grendel, Grendel’s mother, or the dragon. His bravery is most evident in his preparation for his fight with Grendel, Beowulf, “took off his shirt of armour, the helmet from his head, handed his embellished sword, best of irons to an attendant,…” He chose to bravely fight his foe, man to beast without weaponery for he knew it would be “cowardly” to defeat Grendel with a sword and armor when Grendel himself had none. Even in his latter years, as an aged man, he would personally go and fight the dragon that threatened his kingdom and die doing so. Generosity is another celebrated heroic virtue as the great king Hrothgar is quite free with his gifts of gold, finery, weapons and armor, men and hospitality. Kings are also referred to as ring-givers and are expected and supposed to be generous. Only the foul and lowly foes of society such as the slave who steals from the dragon, and the dragon itself that hoards all its treasures show such selfishness and lack of generosity. Beowulf’s men show unquestioning loyalty as they submit their lives to their lord. The night of Beowulf’s fight with Grendel, the men are told by Beowulf to sleep (in the mead hall) and they bravely do, showing immense trust and devotion as they are aware of that they could very well increase their chance of dying when Grendel attacks if they follow as Beowulf instructs (to sleep as opposed to standing guard through the night). Beowulf remains loyal to King Hrothgar and as he promised to purge the mead hall of its murderous foes, he fulfills his pledge by killing not only Grendel, but also Grendel’s mother. Beowulf in turn is also loyal to his men as he states to King Hrothgar, “…if I at your need I should go from life, you would always be in a father’s place for me when I am gone be guardian of my young retainers, my companions, if battle should take me.” Nor does Beowulf forget his king as he also requests that Hrothgar send the rewarded treasures and gifts to Hygelac if Grendel’s mother defeats him. Wiglaf, portrayed as the only worthy one of Beowulf’s company that joined him at his battle with the dragon, also showed loyalty in his aiding his Beowulf in fighting the dragon (as others cowardly shy away from the fight) and followed Beowulf’s instructions for carrying out his funeral and other processions after Beowulf’s death, and in his speech to the people he remained true to what happened and glorified Beowulf. Essentially, as portrayed by the heroes of Beowulf, the “good” people should, like Beowulf, live by the heroic values of valor and courage, loyalty and devotion and together with generosity attain immortality through their glorious deeds.


Word Count 518


What Makes a Hero? After spending over a week reading the story “Beowulf”, we can all come to the conclusion that he is a hero. Sure, he saves countries from monsters, has incredible strength and wisdom, and is fearless- the typical fictional hero. However, when I hear the word hero, I think in terms of an everyday hero. In my mind, a hero is someone who performs courageous acts even if the consequences can be fatal. A hero doesn’t have to be some big muscled guy who beats up bad guys. My example of a hero is a fireman. He/she knows that they might be killed rescuing someone from a burning building, yet they still go in. Why? Probably for the honor and glory that people will give them. Now that we know my definition of a hero, we can take a closer look at the Beowulf’s life to determine if he is a hero by my standards. We first encounter Beowulf when he hears about the troubles the Danes are having with an evil monster named Grendel. Beowulf, knowing that this evil monster might be able to kill him, voluntarily packs up some stuff, gathers some of his men, and leaves the Geats to go help the Danes. When Beowulf arrives to Danish king, he is peacefully invited to the mighty mead hall. When there, Beowulf tells the king that he would like to fight the evil monster. The king, knowing that he has nothing to lose, lets Beowulf fight the monster. Is this guy begging for attention or what? What man in his right mind would go to another country to fight a vicious monster? Beowulf wanted the honor that he could obtain if he killed Grendel. That is why he went. Also, the king told him that if Beowulf could defeat Grendel, he would have anything his heart yearned for. So, the answer to the question if he qualifies as a true hero is yes for this part. He knows he can die if he fights Grendel, but he still does it. After Beowulf kills Grendel, he is faced with another fierce monster � Grendel’s mother. Beowulf was not expecting another monster so he was a caught by surprise a little. Also, Beowulf had a harder time defeating Grendel’s mother than he did with killing Grendel. In this fight, I think Beowulf was fighting more in self-defense than in a heroic sense. He really had no choice other to fight. If he didn’t fight, however, he would be considered a chicken. So, is Beowulf a hero for killing Grendels mother? Yes and no. Yes, because he knew that fighting Grendel’s mother could kill him. No, because he was really fighting in self-defense. As the story continues, Beowulf returns back to the Geats and becomes King when Hygelac dies. While Beowulf was ruler, he did not encounter any major battles for 50 winters (years). Everything was nice and peaceful until one day a thief decided to go to a dragon’s lair and steal something for the king. The dragon is sleeping when the item is stolen so the thief got away, but when the dragon wakes up, all hell breaks loose. The dragon gets furious and travels to the castle and burns it down. Beowulf, now around 70-80 years old, hears of the dragon that is terrorizing his kingdom decides that it is his responsibility to protect his people. He has the blacksmith make him a special iron shield and calls for Wicglaf, a warrior that is very much like Beowulf when he was younger. Beowulf, knowing that his chances of winning against the dragon are very slim, continues to go and fight the dragon. He strikes the dragon with his sword, but it hits the bone and does not do too much damage. Beowulf fights the dragon with all his might, but it just isn’t enough. Fate takes over the battle and the dragon is able to bite Beowulf in his neck with his fangs. However, Wicglaf is able to give the fatal stab while the dragon bites Beowulf. Beowulf has fought his last battle. Although Beowulf knows that he will be dead soon, he is content with all the good deeds that he has done and he feels he has lived a great life. The only complaint that he had was that he never had a son to become the heir of the throne. This event is what I consider makes Beowulf a hero. He knew that he was going to die; yet he still fought. So, as I come to my conclusion, you can see why I consider Beowulf a hero. Not because of his incredible strength or great wisdom, but because his courage. Courage is what makes hero’s what they are, and Beowulf had plenty of it. There are many modern day heroes. So many people risk their lives everyday. It astonishes me. I have great admiration for those people because I know I will probably never have enough courage to perform any of the tasks they do everyday.


Word Count 846


Beowulf is the epic story of a young hero who battles the monster Grendel and his mother. Beowulf, a prince of the Geats, the son of Ecgtheow who voyages to Heorot, the hall of Hrothgar, king of the Geats and the great grandson of the hero . There at Heorot, Beowulf destroys the monster Grendal, who for twelve years has haunted the hall by night and slain all he found therein. When Grendal’s mother, in revenge, makes an attack on the hall, Beowulf seeks her out and kills her in her home beneath the waters. There are many different events in this story. First, there is the pagan warrior system. In this system, the relationship between the lord and his men, known as the thanes, is very important. It is the responsibility of the thanes to defend their king and their lands and also to fight his wars whenever possible. The relationship between the lord and the thanes is one of mutual trust and respect. The warrior vows his loyalty to his lord and eventually becomes his companion. In return, the king/lord is responsible for repaying these men for their favors and eventually provide for their households. He offers them shelter, helmets, gold rings, bracelets, swords, beer, mead, and a home. (Norton, .) In the warrior society, there are two forms of retribution, quiet vengeance and the wergild or the man price (Norton, .). A killer is responsible for paying for the death of a warrior, by paying a member of his family Each rank of society is evaluated at a definite price, which has to be paid to the dead mans kinsmen by the killer who wishes to avoid their vengeance - even if the killing has been accidental. (Norton, .) There are also the ideas of fate and courage portrayed throughout the story of Beowulf. The warriors believe that fate controls their lives and their beings. Beowulf, the ultimate hero, shows this trait throughout Grendels attack and also in his battle with Grendels mother after her vengeful attack on the hall of Heorot. He even tells Unferth, the boastful warrior, of his fate before defeating Grendel, when Beowulf says, Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good. (Norton, 4.) After, Beowulfs successful victory over Grendel, the warriors enjoy their feast and then settle down for their nights rest in the great hall Heorot. They do not know that Grendel has a kin who will come that night to avenge his death. Grendels mother then arrives and snatches the first person she sees and hurries back to the mere. When it is discovered that the man, who happens to be Hrothgars dearest advisor, Aeschere is dead, everyone is sorrowful. Once again, all of Danes are now in sorrow for the death of Aeschere. Hrothgar mourns his friends death, but Beowulf encourages him when he says to Hrothgar, Sorrow not, wise warrior. It is better for a man to avenge his friend than much mourn. (Norton, 45.) Beowulf now attacks Grendels mother and gives victory and freedom to the Danes over the monsters that have been plaguing them for over twelve years. Hrothgar is described as a hoary warrior. (Norton, 45.) He is old, tired and cannot control his kingdom. His thanes can boast, but cannot face the monsters that try to overthrow his kingdom. Not only does Beowulf shows his courage and his fighting ability as a young warrior, but in the end of the poem, at an old age, he again shows his courage by attacking the dragon who eventually takes his life. At the time he is about to attack the dragon, Beowulf says, In my youth I engaged in many wars. Old guardian of the people, I shall still seek battle, perform a deed of fame, if the evil-doer will come to me out of the earth-hall. (Norton, 5.) Beowulfs successor is Wiglaf. Wiglaf is the young warrior who sticks by Beowulfs side while he fights with the dragon. Wiglaf is very similar to Beowulf in that he is also courageous and is humble. He is very courageous and shows his courage when he tries to help Beowulf attack the dragon. Word Count 68


The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of a hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters hideous monsters and the most ferocious of beasts but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are superb and he is even able to boast about all his achievements. Beowulf is the ultimate epic hero who risks his life countless times for immortal glory and for the good of others. Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. 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 simple swimming match with his youthful 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, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendels mother, who is seeking revenge on her sons death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monsters neck with a Giants sword that canonly be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall. This strength is a key trait of Beowulfs heroism. Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his peoples welfare before his own. Beowulfs uncle is king of the Geats so he is sent as an emissary to help rid the Danes of the evil Grendel. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking help from no one. He realizes the dangers but fears nothing for his own life. After Beowulf had served his people as King of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon who is frightening all of his people. Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon in order to protect his people. Even in death he wished so secure safety for the Geats so a tall lighthouse is built in order to help the people find there way back from sea. The most heroic of traits within Beowulf is that he is not afraid to die. He always explains his death wishes before going into battle and requests to have any assets delivered to his people. And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac, return the inheritance I had from Hrehtel, and from Wayland. Fate will unwind as it must! (18) He is aware of the heroic paradox; he will be glorified in life or death for his actions. He knows that when he fights an enemy like Grendel or Grendels mother he will achieve immortality as the victor or the loser. When we crossed the sea, my comrades and I, I already knew that all my purpose was this to win the good will of your people or die in battle, pressed in Grendels fierce grip.Let me live in greatness and courage, or here in this hall welcome my death! () Even with the enormous amount of confidence Beowulf possesses, he understands that Fate or Wyrd will work its magic no matter what and he could be killed at any point in his life. He faces that reality by showing no fear and preparing for a positive or a fatal outcome. Beowulf is the prime example of an epic hero. His bravery and strength surpass all mortal men; loyalty and the ability to think ofhimself last makes him reveared by all. Beowulf came openly and wholeheartedly to help the Danes which was an unusual occurrence in a time of war and wide-spread fear. He set a noble example for all human beings relaying the necessity of brotherhood and friendship. Beowulf is most definitely an epic hero of epic proportions.


Beowulf is “the strongest of the Geats -- greater / and stronger than anyone anywhere in this world” (ll.110-111). Even though he is famous for his massive strength, Beowulf has other attributes that are noticeable other than his strength. These attributes, arrogance, bravery, and a strong love for his people are what make Beowulf become such a powerful, epic hero. Beowulf is arrogant. He constantly brags about his supreme strength. The “strongest man alive” lets people know that he is the most powerful person around by saying, “no strength is a match for mine” (l.67). Beowulf does not think that he could ever be destroyed by anything. He obviously never questiones how his fighting ability would be when he was around seventy. Since Beowulf is convinced that God is watching over him, his ego makes him act as if he is invincible, because of the idea that he has a guardian angel. But, as Beowulf gets older, wiser, and fights in more battles he should realize that there was a possibility that he can die. Beowulf also boasts about his many battles, and is proud of himself for winning all of them. One of these triumphs is the battle in the water when he meets up with nine sea monsters which he killeds, and fights with a monster that is digging its jaws into Beowulf’s flesh. Beowulf proclaims that “ I fought that beast’s last battle, / left it floating in the sea” (ll.0-1). This epic tale reads that while Beowulf is in battle with Grendel’s mother, all he cares was about the fame he would get for defeating her. Unferth thinks that Beowulf was arrogant, by saying, “ You’re Beowulf, are you the same / Boastful fool who fought a swimming / Match with Brecca” (ll.-41). Yes, Beowulf is a boastful fool that loves the attention that his strength gives him. A strong man and an arrogant one, Beowulf is also brave. Even after all of the horror stories that he hears about Grendel, he still fights the cursed beast without any hesitation. When he battles with Grendel, he does it without the things that everyone else would use--weapons. This shows that Beowulf is not scared of anything in the world. He also must be brave to fight a sea monster after swimming in the ocean for days. He went straight into battle exhausted, from the strenuous journey across the ocean. The bravery that he possesses, along with an arrogant mentality that no one can defeat him keeps Beowulf from quitting at a time that anyone else would. In addition to being brave, Beowulf thinks of his people all of the time. Even when he was not a member of the clan, he still fought for them. He cares if they are being terrorized or killed, and shows his love by endlessly going into fights, each battle tougher than the one before. Even when he is dying after his battle with the dragon, all that he thinks about is the treasure that his clan would be able to use to their advantage. The leader of the Geats even thanks God for letting him help his people while he lived. He gives them the bravest leader under him in Wiglaf, which was the best gift for his people, since like Beowulf, Wiglaf was brave. To be a real hero, Beowulf needs to have some kind of personality to make him a man of epic proportions. Beowulf is arrogant, but through all of his arrogance, he still has a kind heart, is brave, and cares for his people. A person who upholds these qualities is truly a hero and a great example for all of mankind to look up to. People in this world should also mold their hearts after a person like Beowulf, because even though he is not perfect, he still strives to be the strongest, and has the biggest heart known to Herot, and the world.


Heroes today have changed from those of Beowulfs day. Back in the time of Beowulf heroes were mainly the protectors of the country such as warriors and kings. The roles have changed today were heroes consist of celebrities and sport players. The roles have changed because our society has changed as well. In the time of Beowulf the kings were of the utmost of importance. Without a king the country was sure to fall into ruins. The kings duty was to protect the country. He did this by keeping up with the wars of the surrounding country and finding warriors to protect the country. The king was highly respected and he had a very important job. Without the king there was no hope for the country. Today really is not all that different, instead of a king we have a president. Our president must still keep up with the foreign affairs including wars in order to protect our country. He must also be able to foresee any affect that foreign affairs might have on the country in the long run. It is out presidents responsibility to ensure that our military divisions, including the airforce, navy, and army, are prepared and able to defend our nation or our nations allies. In the epic, Beowulf, heroes were also warriors. These warriors were supposed to protect the country against monsters and invasions. The warriors were strong men who could physically make an attack or prevent an attack in order to protect their country. Beowulf was a warrior who was a hero to the country where the Danes lived. Beowulf was able to protect and serve the Danes by killing Grendel. Grendel was an evil monster who had been killing the people that had been sleeping in the hall that he haunted. Beowulf became a hero by not only killing Grendle but also by tearing off his shoulder arm and claw with his bear hands. This is an amazing feat that an ordinary man could not accomplish. To kill a monster with ones bear hands is simply unheard of! Today our heroes do not normally consist of a warrior as much as a sports player. They too, like the warrior, do things that the ordinary man could not do. Accomplishing unordinary feats is how they earn the respect of the nation. Their job is also equally important as the warrior because they allow people to escape their problems and lives for a while they watch the sport. Mark McGuire is a hero in the sport of baseball team the Cardinals. Mr. McGuire has hit more homeruns than any other man in the major leagues has ever hit in one baseball season. He became a hero by accomplishing such a respectable feat and still being kind to all including his family that he care a lot for. Not only did he keep our interest in the game to see how many homeruns he would get, but he also brought the love back to out national past time. In the year before the country lost respect for baseball when a baseball strike had ruined the season. In bringing back the love for a sacred sport Mr. McGuire earned the counties love and respect. Another great warrior was a man named Wiglaf who tried to save Beowulfs life. Beowulf ran into trouble when he was fighting an evil dragon. He had gotten older had had not ever fought a fire breathing dragon before. All of Beowulfs warriors deserted him except for one, Wiglaf. Wiglaf was unable to save Beowulfs life but he kills the dragon and fulfills Beowulfs last request. He builds a monument for Beowulf and Wiglaf became king. Today the story is slightly different but equally enjoyable. Sammy Sosa is a baseball player for the Cubs, a rival to the Cardinals (Mark McGuires team). Mr. Sosa is a hero because he too beat the previous record for home runs in one baseball season. Although he was battling with Mr. McGuire to make the new home run record the two players kept it friendly and professional only wanting the better man to win. Mr. Sosa also helped to bring enjoyment into the game of baseball. Mr. Sosa also helped to remind us on how important it is to be kind even if the battle is between two heroes who both desire to win the fight. Throughout time the roles that heroes play in our lives have changed but they are still important to our countries. Beowulf and Wiglaf protected their country and people. Just as importantly Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa brought enjoyment and a break from hectic lives to our country. Even thought the roles have changed for the heroes throughout time their importance to the countries has not gotten smaller. Heroes today are as important as they were in the time of, the hero, Beowulf.


Throughout the two epics, Beowulf, and Gilgamesh, and the novel Grendel, we see certain heroic characteristics of the main characters. Although Beowulf, Grendel, and Gilgamesh all come to a heroic end, they differ in way in which they came to that end. In Beowulf we read of a great warrior who cares about nothing but honor and his people. In Gilgamesh, we see a man who comes to a realization of his mortality, and then does all he can to overcome that weakness. Finally, in Grendel, we see a monster that was born in a cruel world, and comes to a cruel ending. Throughout the epic poem of Beowulf, we not only read of the heroism of Beowulf himself, but the guile of the antagonist, Grendel. By the fifth chapter, Beowulf is showing a characteristic that was vital to a Greek hero. He is boasting of his accomplishments. He tells of how he once fought a serpent in the open ocean. This might not seem to heroic, but you must attempt to become an archeological reader to begin fully understanding why this is so heroic. During the fist century of this millenium, one of the many things that scared people, and continues to do so today, is the unknown. Beowulf braved the unknown on not only land, but also where man has never belonged. He braved the unknown in the ocean. Grendel throughout the poem is, however, shown in a different light. He is a monster. He is a descendant of the first murderer, Cain. He kills simply for sport. He relishes in the blood of mankind. He is a monster who knows no bounds. In Grendel however, the point of view of the reader has changed. We now read from the point of view of the monster. We see how he has been born into a world where he understands next to nothing, and does not even have the comfort of a true mother. He can talk to no one, save for a dragon that sees everything, past, present and future, and he is alone in a world of humans. There is no place of refuge where he can escape the world of hate that he lives in. He is something that is unknown to humans, and is therefore unwanted, frightful, and must be either eliminated or banished form view. Although in both of the epics, one an English and the other a Mesopotamian, we read of heroic qualities of one main character, and through that main character the ideals of that culture as a whole, in Grendel, we read of an outcast, who is killed simply because he is an enigma to the people. This is where these three stories break down, in the way, not only in which they become heroes, but the way in which the author accomplishes this feat. In both Beowulf and Gilgamesh, we read of people who are highly esteemed, and emulate everything that those respective cultures hold dear. In Grendel, we see the cynicism of the twentieth century, and we read of all the ways in which our society and culture has become incongruent with that which we say we hold dear. In Gilgamesh, we read of a man who isPlease note that this sample paper on Beowulf is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on Beowulf, we are here to assist you. Your cheap research papers on Beowulf will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

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