Uploaded by therocksays on Oct 25, 2000
A hero is a person noted for their act of courage and the nobility of their purpose. The hero of an epic poem embodies the ideals of conduct that are most valued by the culture in which the epic was composed. Beowulf is described as a perfect hero who fights for his people and vanquishes evil with his extraordinary abilities to bring peace and justice. Three of Beowulf’s traits that support this are his amazing physical strength, his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own, and the fact that he does not fear death.
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. Beowulf is 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 Grendel's mother, who is seeking revenge on her son's death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster's neck with a Giant's 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 ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall (39). This strength is a key trait of Beowulf's heroism.
Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his peoples welfare before his own. Beowulf's 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 that 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 their way back from sea (45).
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...