Beowulf epitomized the persona of an epic hero. An epic hero is one with attributes that others do not possess. Some of these traits are; selflessness, wisdom and physical strength. Wisdom in Beowulf’s life is evident in his journey to Denmark and his reign over the Geats. His physical strength is apparent in the way he battles Grendel’s mother as well as mythical creatures. Selflessness was manifested in the way he interacted with his countrymen. Beowulf has these three traits of wisdom, selflessness, and strength, which help him lead his people and fight battles with monsters.
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Evidence That Supports Beowulf as a Hero
This character’s physical prowess was undisputed as he possessed enough physical strength to fight with mystical creatures and be victorious. Beowulf prepared for battle with Grendel after arriving in Denmark and traveling to Herot. While in Herot, he managed to instantly seize Grendel; this was a thing that no man had ever accomplished (307). Beowulf’s bravery is portrayed in events where he performed things that no other man would dare to do. Beowulf believed that God was in control, so this made him brave and allowed him to draw courage from God. He could face battles without fear or hesitation because he believed he had no control over his death. In one scene, while fighting with Grendel, he lay down patiently so that he could wait for his adversary; he proved his bravery by seizing him (295 & 296). Also, Beowulf jumped into the lake and sunk in pursuit of Grendel’s mother. At this time, all he had in his mind were the battles he was going to engage in and win (307 & 308). While fighting the dragon, Wiglaf and Beowulf were left by their allies but that did not make Beowulf retreat as he continued with the battle.
Wisdom is another trait that he possesses. He was a wise man because he chose to become a boat captain when sailing to Denmark. Beowulf leads his fellow Geats on this long journey, and they safely arrive in Denmark. While fighting with Grandel, Beowulf is seen to have powerful fighting ability and strategy for combat. He pretended to be asleep so that he could apply an element of surprise against Grendel; a move that gave him an upper hand in the fight. There is also an instance where Beowulf is dragged into the she-witch lair. Here, he was smart enough to realize that the weapons he had were not effective and therefore, he had to think quickly. He saw a giant’s sword hanging on the wall and picked it. He used this sword to chop off Grandel’s mother’s head and automatically won the battle. The fights that Beowulf encountered gave him the wisdom to lead his people efficiently as the ruler of Geatland.
Beowulf is considered an epic hero because he is brave, wise and selfless. Beowulf shows all these traits in the battles he fought. Beowulf displayed selflessness by sharing the treasure with his people instead of keeping it to himself. Beowulf protected his culture until he died. The Geats lost their culture after the death of this hero.
Beowulf’s life is proof that he is truly an epic hero. The poem Beowulf was a reflection of the wisdom, selflessness, and strength that characterize such persons. He was wise in his leadership over the Geats and selfless when handling material wealth. The character’s strength shone during battles with difficult adversaries. Beowulf typified these qualities without looking forced or unnatural.