What is the difference between a hero and a coward? A hero is a man distinguished for exceptional courage, fortitude or bold enterprise. A coward may be defined as one wholacks courage in the face of danger or pain. In the epic poem Beowulf, by an unknown author, the hero Beowulf, a man admired for brave deeds and distinguished for exceptional courage, battles the fiendish coward Grendel, an immoral monster who lacks fortitude. The deviation of Beowulf and Grendel is immense. Beowulf was well liked and respected by his fellow man. Everywhere that he traveled he was saluted and even greeted with gifts.
While on the other hand Grendel was highly feared and hated by other sSo the living sorrow of Healfdane s son, Hrothgar, simmered, bitter and fresh, and no wisdom or strength could break it: the agony hung on king and people alike, harsh and unending, violent and cruel, and evil. (pg. 23 ln. 104-108) The previous quote is just one example showing how people fear and hate Grendel.
All that someone would have to do is mention the name Grendel and people start panicking and looking around with a terrified look on their face. Beowulf possessed godlike prowess. Beowulf once drove five great monsters into chains then chased the rest of that race from the earth itself. He once swam in the blackness of night and hunted fierce monsters out of the ocean and then killed them one bone. Beowulf, in a challenge, swam for seven long nights through one of earth s amazing and challenging seas.
One of the best examples of Beowulf s godlike strength was when, with his bare hands, he removed Grendel s arm from his body and fastened it to the rafters in the hall. Grendel opposes and is despised by God. … He was spawned in that slime, conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain, murderous creatures banished by God, punished forever for the crime of Abel s death. The Almighty drove those demons out, and their exile was bitter. (pg. 21 ln.
19-24) The previous quote demonstrates how Grendel opposes and is despised by God. Grendel s family line is nothing short of filled with sin and horror. Beowulf was so well liked and respected that people mourned over his death. When Beowulf died his followers mourned greatly. His followers cried that no better king had ever lived and that no man was so open to his people.
After Beowulf s death twelve of the bravest gets traveled around telling the story of their fierce leader and how great he was Grendel s death was a moment of great rejoice. After Grendel s death people were jubilated beyond all belief. The people of Herot felt no sorrow what so ever when the life of the fiend Grendel was taken. … They gaped with no sense of sorrow, felt no regret for his suffering… (pg.
35 ln. 522-523) The previous quote restates how the people of Herot felt about the death of the evil coward Grendel. Beowulf believed in killing for one reason. Beowulf killed for the protection of himself and for the protection of others. Beowulf came to Herot for one reason and that was to protect the people.
He protected the people of Herot by taking the life of Grendel. Grendel on the other hand kills for one reason and that reason is pleasure. He slipped through the door and there in the silence snatched up thirty men, smashed them unknowing in their beds, and ran out with their bodies, the blood dripping behind him, back to his lair, delighted with his nights slaughter. (pg. 21-22 ln. 36-40) The previous quote is a perfect example of Grendel s actions.
Grendel goes and slaughters thirty men without a blink of an eye. He murdered all of those men for one sole purpose and that purpose was self-gratification. Beowulf is a fair face to face warrior. When Beowulf fought Grendel he did not do a sneak attack he waited for Grendel to come to him.
The only reason Grendel was surprised when he went after Beowulf is because Beowulf actually fought back. Grendel is the complete opposite of Beowulf. Grendel cannot fight face to face because he is too much of a coward. Grendel will not attack until his prey is highly intoxicated and asleep. Then when the darkness had dropped, Grendel went up to Herot, wondering what the warriors would do in that hall when their drinking was done.
He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing, their dreams undisturbed. (pg. 21 ln. 30-34) The previous quote is just another example of what a cowardly attacker Grendel is. What is the contrast between a hero and a coward. A coward is defined as one wholacks courage in the face of danger.
A hero is defined as a man who is distinguished for his exceptional courage, fortitude, and bold enterprise. In the epic story Beowulf both ofthe roles of a hero and a coward are clearly defined with the characters of Beowulf and Grendel. The contrast between Beowulf and Grendel has been proven to be enormous.