"Notes for Essay" Grendel's Mother's Attack In Beowulf, we see a number of elements throughout the poem. First, we see a pagan warrior society. In this society the relationship between a king and his thanes is key. It is a symbiotic relationship in which the thanes defend the king and his land and fight his wars. In return, the king provides for his men. He offers them such items as mail coats, swords, helmets, gold rings, mead, beer, shelter and companionship.
This society also places great value on kinship. If one's kin is killed, it is the remaining relative's duty to make the killer pay for the death, either with his own life or the payment of wergild (the "man price"). Finally, we see the recurrence of the pagan ideas of fate and courage. Men believe that fate controls their lives. Beowulf constantly tests fate and believes that through courage he can live on in the memory of those who will live after him. In the section of the poem dealing with Grendel's Mother's attack, we see the warriors settling down to sleep in Heorot after the huge celebration of Beowulf's victory over Grendel.
They seem unaware of the fact that Grendel has kin who may come to avenge his death. Grendel's mother appears on the scene, snatches a man away and hurries back to the mere. When it is discovered a man is dead, sorrow is renewed. There is no more joy at Heorot, now that the she-monster has sought "payment" for the death of her son.
Yet since she and her son are monsters, the thanes feel little sympathy. In this scene we also see the pointlessness of the blood feuds, especially in the line, "This was not a good bargain, that on both sides they had to pay with the lives of friends." (Norton, page 44. ) For twelve long years Hrothgar's men were murdered. Beowulf put a stop to the madness when he killed Grendel. But no one has thought about Grendel's kin.
When Grendel's mother seeks revenge, it is a different story. If it weren't for the fact that there are only two monsters in the mere, this blood feud could have gone on for ages. Hrothgar summons Beowulf and tells him that the dead man is Aes chere, his dearest advisor. He begs Beowulf for help once more, and Beowulf agrees saying, "It is better for a man to avenge his friend than much mourn." (Norton, page 45. ) It is here that we see Hrothgar contrasted with Beowulf. Hrothgar is described as "the hoary warrior"; he seems old, tired, and out of control.
His thanes may be good at boasting, but they are unable to protect his kingdom. Beowulf, on the other hand, is young, strong, and courageous. He believes that "Fate often saves an un doomed man when his courage is good." (Norton, page 34. ) We see a similar contrast of age and fighting ability later in the poem when Beowulf is an old man and goes to slay the dragon.
In that scene, Beowulf's age is contrasted with Wiglaf's youth. The big difference between these two scenes of the poem is that throughout his life, Beowulf does not fear going into battle for his people, but Hrothgar avoids it. Beowulf fights the dragon even if it means his own death. How is Wiglaf similar to Beowulf? On a final note, both pagan and Christian elements are present in this section of the poem. Grendel and his mother are once again referred to as descendants of Cain, the biblical "kin killer." It says, "From him (Cain) sprang many a devil (monsters such as Grendel and his mother) sent by fate." (Norton, page 43.
) While we see references to Cain and the devil (both Christian elements) in this quotation, we are told that they are sent by fate, a pagan element. Further Christian elements appear in the discussion of how Beowulf relies on his "great strength, the large gift God had given him, and relied on the Almighty for favor, comfort and help." (Norton, page 43. ) All of these aspects add up to the contrast between good and evil that is present throughout the poem. Beowulf represents good. God gives him strength; he is the superhero and avenger. Grendel, his mother, and the dragon on the other hand represent evil.
Beowulf becomes the superhero because he is the one who never shies away from doing what he ought to do. He therefore achieves his destiny. Beowulf-Christianity or Paganism Beowulf was written in England sometime in the 8 th century. This provides us with an idea that the poem that was written during a time when the society was in the process of converting from paganism to Christianity. Beowulf Defines the Hero In epics, the main character is usually a hero.
This is a person who expresses courage and superhuman strength. These people are recognized as the epitome of all people in this time. In Anglo-Saxon literature the role of a hero is to protect good. There were many great pieces of literature during Anglo-Saxon times. Perhaps one of the best was Beowolf. In this story the main character is Beowolf, a man who protects the Herot from a terrible monster, and later on in his life protects his own castle.
Beowolf is a hero who represents good in this story. During Beowolfs time people spoke very highly of heroes. An example from the story of Beowolf protecting good is when the king is speaking of him. He says of Beowolf, "Until that curving prow carries/Across the sea to Geatland a chosen / warrior who bravely does battle with the / creature haunting our people, who survives / that horror unhurt, and goes home bearing / our love." (208-212) The king speaks of Beowolf as a great hero and hopes that he will be able to defeat Grendel, the monster that has been terrorizing Herot.
Before his confrontation with Grendel, he did many other things to assist his people. An example of him doing this is when he speaks of himself killing the giants and wiping them off the earth. He says, "They have seen my strength for themselves, /have watched me rise from the darkness / of war, dripping of my enemies' blood/I drove five great giants into chairs, chased / all of that race from the Earth." (246-250) Beowolf proves his strength to others and to himself. In his fight with Grendels' mother Beowolf proves many things. An example of Beowolfs heroism is when he is battling her.
"That mighty protector of men / meant to hold the monster 'till its life / leaped out... ." (366-367) Beowolf is described as the "protector" of his people and proves this by defeating Grendels' mother. She had recently killed a close friend of the king in defiance to the slaying of her son. To prevent further killing, Beowolf went to an arena under a lake and destroyed her. Later on in his life he kills a fire-breathing dragon because he wants to protect his kingdom.
He was king for over 40 years and had done all he could to protect his kingdom. Beowolfs best asset is his strength. He uses his superhuman power to defeat any monster that stands in his way. He also possesses great courage, which allows him to face great dangers and peril, where other warriors would turn and go the other way.
The reasons for Beowolf helping his people are simple, fame and fortune. Grendel is loved by his people and collects great treasures from his battles. However, Beowolf is most admired because he is a hero and protects anyone in need. That is why Beowolf represents the hero portrayed in epics, as well as Anglo-Saxon literature. Beowulf - Hero In the epic story of Beowulf, the hero is Beowulf.
Beowulf shows physical strength in the story by defeating Grendel. In line 219 of Grendel's mother, it tells how Beowulf killed her. .".. cut it through, broke bones and all." His strength is also told in line 213 of how he "lifted the sword that was so massive that no ordinary man could lift." Beowulf's determination, or his will to win, was throughout the story, even up until his death. A quote that describes this is, .".. he cut the beast in half, slit it apart.
It fell... ." (line 185). He shows courage along with his cousin, Wiglaf, when they defeat the fire dragon. In line 189 it says, .".. their courage had killed it, two noble cousins had joined in the dragon's death." Beowulf also shows courage in all of his battles. His intelligence is far above any others.
He used the sword made by the giants to kill Grendel's mother. In lines 210-222, it describes how he was quick and saw the sword "hammered by giants, strong and blessed with their magic... and struck with all the strength he had left, caught her in the neck and cut it through... ." Beowulf was altruistic because he always put the needs of others before his own. His whole reason for coming to Herot was to help the people against Grendel.
He even stayed to defeat Grendel's mother and the fire dragon. "My life was almost lost, fighting for it, struggling under water: I'd have been dead at once, and the fight finished, if our Father in Heaven had not helped me." (Line 310). In the story, Beowulf is also a Tragic Hero. He possesses goodness by telling the king of the Danes in lines 1-8 that he is honored to be there helping them. Beowulf shows superiority in the story. "I sold my life for this treasure, and I sold it well." (Line 76).
I believe that his tragic flaw is that he was too sure of himself, and never brought the right weapon to fight with. In line 113 it tells how his sword broke into bits after striking the dragon. Beowulf's tragic realization is that he knew that it was his time, because he believed in the Lord. (Line 17-20). Beowulf is a folk epic because it involves the five characteristics. First is the hero, which was Beowulf, who is a figure of imposing stature.
The setting covers vast nations, which included Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Third is the action, which in this case there are three, defeating Grendel and his mother, and the Fire dragon. The other characters included Shield, Hrothgar, Grendel, Grendel's mother, the Fire dragon, and Wiglaf. The last characteristic is the poet. It is a recount of the deeds of the hero with a measure of objectivity. The Heroic Epic of Beowulf In the course of time, many heroes have made their name and many stories have been written to proclaim their greatness.
However, none as captivating as Beowulf. This Anglo-Saxon epic demonstrates it's power with beautiful language, usage of kennings, metaphors, similes, and alliteration. Also, it gives wondrous supernatural beings as in God, and even of powerful creatures as Grendel. On the other hand, it has human struggles and afflictions. The very first element that is discovered by reading this epic is the lofty language that is used. Although, having read only and excerpt, the writing is as glorious as the story itself.
Alliteration usage and can easily recognized in line 33, "He found them sprawled in sleep, suspecting nothing... ." which demonstrates the "s" sound. Another example of alliteration at work using the "p" sound is line 160, "From my prince, no permission from my people for your landing here." Metaphors provide a distinct characteristic as in line 30 describing terror as "darkness had dropped." Line 128 when sailing across the sea, describing the seas "beating" on the sand. There are few similes but one that stands out most in line 133. "The ship foamed through the sea like a bird...
." Using like to describe the similarity of the bird and how the ship traveled across the sea. Probably the most important element of language are the kennings which describe something simple so indirectly. Line 241 describes darkness or night by stating how the moon hangs. Also line 325 describes Grendel in two different kennings as one form of evil. Every hero has their way of fighting evil or protecting from it. In order to fight a supernatural being, one must have a superhuman power which brings us to another characteristic of epic poetry.
The very first supernatural being described is the almighty God in lines 7-3 in the beginning. God is definitely been a supernatural being because of his ability and powers that he possesses. He is mostly associated with the Earth's origin and it's inhibitors. Monsters are also form of supernatural being.
In this epic Grendel provokes death and cannibalizes human without thought but also enjoying it. What makes him so powerful is his appetite for people and how he acquires it. Without doubt the most obvious superhuman character must be Beowulf. Most recognized by inhuman strength and bravery. Human's greatest fear or enemy is death but Beowulf is not intimidated by death which proves him to be superhuman and uncommon among our race. In a heroic epic poem, the most important element must as always and sometimes is the hero himself or herself.
To be classified as a hero, one of the most important characteristic that must be included is devotion to duty and have a worth cause. Beowulf proves his nobility by venturing across the sea to fight evil bringing honor for his King Hi glac. As noticed, in the section "The Coming of Beowulf" he (Beowulf) has mentioned his king more than once, not owning all the bravery to himself. Beowulf is devoted to his duty by immediately adjusting the problem, but without a doubt, his travels were all for a worthy cause which is to kill evil and end suffering.
Having all the elements mentioned, Beowulf holds true to it's title as a heroic epic poem. Everyday Heroes in Beowulf and A Lesson Before Dying Ernest Gaines novel, A Lesson Before Dying, is a story about, Jefferson, a black man who is wrongfully charged with a crime he did not commit. He cannot get a fair trial because he is a black man in the south. He is sentenced to be executed, but before he dies Grant, an educated black man, teaches him how to walk like a man, so people do not think of him as a hog.
"Beowulf" is an epic poem over one thousand years old, which was told from one generation to another. It is about, Beowulf, a great hero who defeats three different monsters to save the kingdom. In his last battle he is much older than before and is killed by a dragon. A hero does something that other people do not do and he does things for others, and other people look to a hero for guidance.
Grant does something that other blacks can not do he goes to college. Most blacks do not get the opportunity to go to college, but Grant went as soon as he was old enough. When he returned he was a well-educated man, but he was still treated the same way as he was before he went to college. Grant is able to teach Jefferson how to be a man, and Jefferson learns that he is somebody. ."..
I cry cause you been so good to me mr wig in an nobody aint never been that good to me an make me think im somebody" (Gaines 232) No one else is qualified to help Jefferson they all depend on Grant to teach him, and Jefferson appreciates it so much it brings him to tears. Beowulf is able to do something that no one else has ever done even though many people have tried. He is able to kill Grendel because he uses Grendels own size to hurt him. Beowulf grabs Grendels arm and pulls it until Grendel finally escapes. "He twisted in pain, And the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder Snapped, muscle and bone split And broke" (Beowulf 34).
Grendel was so big that when Beowulf pulled his arm there was too much pressure on it and it started to tear. Common people look to a hero for guidance and inspiration. The blacks look to Grant for guidance because he is educated and he knows things they do not know. Jefferson looks to Grant for guidance. Grant thinks that he can not help Jefferson but Revere n Ambrose tells him "He listen to you" (Gaines 213).
Jefferson eventually becomes a man and walks to his death as a man. Grant is a source of inspiration to the black community because ho got himself out of that life and made a better one for himself, and they think that if he did it then they can do it. Beowulf is similar to Grant in that people look to him for guidance and inspiration. However the people in "Beowulf" are inspired by his physical strength and they are inspired because he kills Grendel A hero does for others. Grant does not use his education to start a career, instead he stays home and teaches children. Grant does not think of himself first he thinks of the kids.
Grant also gets into a fight defending Jefferson, he decides not to tell anyone about it because he does not think it is nec cary to boast about himself, he only fought for Jefferson. Beowulf as Heroic Archetype One Work Cited Monsters, their mothers, and dragons! The epic poem Beowulf, author unknown, includes all these mystical creatures and an impervious protagonist after which the poem is named. As the main character in the poem, Beowulf exemplifies the heroic archetype physically, spiritually, and ethically. Beowulf is superior to the average person in many areas, among them physical strength. Throughout the poem, Beowulf accomplishes feats that no other man would be able to survive and proves his boundless might.
Beowulf is described to Hrothgar, king of the Danes, by a messenger as .".. a mighty warrior, powerful and wise" (line 370). Beowulf himself challenges the insults of Unferth by saying, .".. no strength is a match for mine" (line 534). Also, Beowulf tells Hrothgar and his company of a time when he had to face several sea monsters in the dark by himself, and still managed to kill them and swim to shore: ... nine was the number Of...
Beowulf - Traits of The Anglo-Saxon Hero Within the tale of "Beowulf" four character traits can be found which define the Anglo Saxon Hero. The first is loyalty, as demonstrated by the relationship between Lord and thane. According to page 23 of the "Beowulf" introduction, "a relationship based less on subordination of one man's will to another than on mutual trust and respect." The second and third characteristics are strength and courage. The importance of these specific traits to the Anglo-Saxon people is clearly presented during the reciting of Sigemund's tale within Heorot. As the song states, "He was adventurer most famous, far and wide through the nations, for deed of courage - he had prospered from that before, the protector of warriors - after the war-making of Here mod had come to an end, his strength and his courage" (38).
The final piece which comprises the Anglo-Saxon hero is the notion of fame. The only after life a warrior could ever aspire to have was immortality through fame. One again this is explained by the introduction to the story, "Beowulf's chief reward is pagan immortality the memory in the minds of later generations of a hero's heroic actions" (24-25). By understanding what defines a hero it is a simple matter to comprehend why Beowulf is considered by some to be the greatest of all. He posses unfaltering loyalty to his king and allies, and save for his final battle his thanes show the same devotion to him. His strength is unparalleled, as he is able to defeat each of his opponents and perform feats of unmatched endurance.
Beowulf's courage, though motivated primarily by his own notion of fate, is, none the less, unwavering. And as a hero he achieved his desire for immortality through the poem itself. Each of the four heroic traits can be identified within the three battles in which Beowulf participates: His battle with Grendel, his undersea struggle with the Grendel's Mother, and his final fight with the dragon. Before going off to do battle with Grendel, Beowulf gives a speech that may appear conceited to the modern reader, but is in actuality a simple device used to insure his immortality through fame. Beowulf states, "I claim myself no poorer in war strength, war works, than Grendel claims himself. Therefor I will not put him to sleep with a sword...
and then may wise God, Holy Lord, assign glory on whichever hand seems good to him" (35-36). Now whether he wins or looses the fight Beowulf will always be remembered as the courageous warrior who battled the beast without the aid of a weapon. This passage also shows Beowulf's unconquerable courage. It is important to note, however, that this courage does not come from A strong mind, but rather from an unquestioning belief in fate, which in turn, is completely at God's command. His courage, therefor, comes entirely from his belief that he has done good in the eyes of the lord.
Armed only with his strong belief in the goodness of the Lord Beowulf attacks the evil Grendel ("enemy of god" according to page 37) and displays his awesome strength. When Beowulf first grasps the arm of his opponent he is described as "he who of men was strongest of might in the days of his life" (37). He then proceeds to rip Grendel's arm from his body while "more than enough of Beowulf's earls drew swords, old heirlooms, wished to protect the life of their dear lord, famous prince however they might" (37) (a perfect example of the importance of loyalty in the lord-thane relationship). In his second battle Beowulf again epitomizes the Anglo-Saxon hero by again exhibiting the aforementioned traits. After Grendel's Mother swarms the castle in retribution for the murder of her son (choosing to wage war instead of accepting wergild) Beowulf is determined to do away with the descendent of Cain.
"He was resolute, not slow of courage, mindful of fame" (47). He is exceptionally strong since, in order to reach the dwelling of Grendel's mother, he must swim for almost a day to reach the bottom of a lake. This is of course no great ordeal for a man who can swim for seven days with his comrade Brecca and battle a horde of sea monsters all while wearing chain armor. During the battle Beowulf's men remain loyal to their leader and stay by the side of the lake even after the Sycldings left the hill. They wait for hours even though they believe their lord to be dead. And when Beowulf does finally resurface he has not only killed Grendel's mother, but has come back with Grendel's head, as well.
Beowulf's ultimate battle occurs over fifty years after his battle with Grendel's Mother. Beowulf is now ruler over the kingdom of the Geats. He is forced to protect his Kingdom from a fearsome dragon after a servant angers the creature by stealing an ornamented cup. Before engaging in the battle Beowulf remains confident of victory by recounting his past exploits (again certifying a position of fame).
Although he is armed for the battle he wishes that he could "grapple with the monster, as [he] did of old with Grendel" (59). Beowulf remains as just courageous and as ravenous for fame in his elder years as he does in his youth. Like the previous battles Beowulf again behaves like the Hero, with one striking difference. This is the one battle in the poem where Beowulf looses the loyalty of his men. As the battle between Beowulf and the dragon becomes increasingly violent all the thanes flee.
The only exception is Wiglaf, son of Weohstan, who quickly jumps into battle to aid his lord. Before doing so, however, he scolds his fellow thanes for forsaking their leader, explaining that it is better to fall in a fight. As Wiglaf himself states," God knows of me that I should rather that the flame enfold my body with my gold giver" (61). Here it is Wiglaf who possesses the heroic traits. He is loyal to his lord, he is courageous and has desire for fame, all that he lacks is great strength. During the battle the dragon is vanquished, but Beowulf suffers mortal wounds.
Having no heirs he passes his kingdom on to Wiglaf, who Beowulf describes as the last of the race of Waegmundings. Although Beowulf dies, he does achieve the goal of the hero - to be immortalized. A shrine is constructed to honor the legendary hero - and so Beowulf's fame continues to live on. Wiglaf, however, although the new Ruler is destined for hardships since he lacks the sheer strength which would make him a true hero. Strength, courage, loyalty, and fame.
If these truly are the defining factors in each great hero, how then are the heroes different from the villains. Doesn't Grendels mother have all of the same qualities. She was strong courageous, loyal to her son, and though she dies, famous through her battle with Beowulf. In the end the Anglo-Saxon hero is not merely defined by his traits, but by his appearance through the eyes of his God (or at least how the people perceive God's vision). The lord sees Beowulf as good, therefor he is a hero. The grendel family, as well as the dragon are seen as abominations by lord, so they are evil.
Hero's are therefor nothing more than good looking villains who posses social graces. And yet they still inspire us to be good. And so Beowulf remains a hero - and an immortal. Heroism of Beowulf Beowulf was written in the eighth century by an unknown author. The story is centered on Beowulf, the main character, who goes to Denmark to offer his assistance in fighting off, Grendel, the monster who has been haunting them.
Beowulf most definitely proves to be a hero. His heroism is exemplified first when he kills Grendel, then when he kills Grendel's mother, and finally when he kills the dragon, called Worm. This makes him a hero because he risks his own life to save the people of Denmark. The reader first experiences Beowulf's heroism when he encounters and then kills Grendel. Grendel was a constant threat to the survival of the Danish people because he was using them as food. One night Beowulf awakes to find Grendel over his bed.
Rather than trying to escape, Beowulf not only faces Grendel but also pursues him when he tries to escape. Like any other hero Beowulf purses the danger until it is conquered. The reader experiences Beowulf heroism a second time when he kills Grendel's mother. Grendel's mother wanted to avenge her son's death and went back to the mead hall where a lot of warriors slept and attacked. Beowulf came and was ready to fight but Grendel's mother fled.
Disregarding his own safety Beowulf persistently tracks Grendel's mother to her cave, where the head of the chieftain was found. Despite how colossal Grendel's mother was Beowulf stuck it out till the end and eventually stabbed Grendel's mother leading to her death. The third time the reader experiences Beowulf heroism is when he fights and kills the dragon, the worm. Once again Beowulf completely disregards his safety and decided to fight this monster. This time Beowulf ended up need some assistance from Wiglaf. Fortunately the worm was killed.
However, Beowulf too was injured and was dying. He made a few requests that he wanted to be done after he died for Wiglaf to carry out. This showed heroism because he wasn't scared of dying and was glad the worm was dead. In conclusion by definition a hero is willing to do many things. For example he is willing to risk his own life for the good of others, faces danger and does not run away from it, and lastly pursues the danger until it is conquered. Every fight that Beowulf fought showed him doing all three of the characteristics a hero consists of.
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 195-196), 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. Beowulf's 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 2518-2520) 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 Wulf gar, 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 430-432) 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 world's bravest person hasn't 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 218) 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 1234-1235). 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. Beowulf 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.
2335-2337). 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. Tensions between the Heroic Code and other Value Systems - Much of Beowulf is devoted to articulating and illustrating the Germanic heroic code, which values strength, courage, and loyalty in warriors; hospitality, generosity, and political skill in kings; ceremoniousness in women; and good reputation in all people.
Traditional and much respected, this code is vital to warrior societies as a means of understanding their relationships to the world and the menaces lurking beyond their boundaries. All of the characters' moral judgments stem from the code's mandates. Thus individual actions can be seen only as either conforming to or violating the code. The poem highlights the code's points of tension by recounting situations that expose its internal contradictions in values. The poem contains several stories that concern divided loyalties, situations for which the code offers no practical guidance about how to act. For example, the poet relates that the Danish Hildeburh marries the Frisian king.
When, in the war between the Danes and the Frisians, both her Danish brother and her Frisian son are killed, Hildeburh is left doubly grieved. The code is also often in tension with the values of medieval Christianity. While the code maintains that honor is gained during life through deeds, Christianity asserts that glory lies in the afterlife. Similarly, while the warrior culture dictates that it is always better to retaliate than to mourn, Christian doctrine advocates a peaceful, forgiving attitude toward one's enemies. Throughout the poem, the poet strains to accommodate these two sets of values.
Though he is Christian, he cannot (and does not seem to want to) deny the fundamental pagan values of the story.