A any villain ahead of him. Beowulf

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   A hero is not born; he is self-made with heroic qualities. What qualifies for making someone a hero? According to Merriam Webster, a hero is defined as: ” a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability” (Merriam-Webster’s, 2017). Beowulf perfectly fits that definition of a hero. In Seamus Heaney Beowulf, Beowulf has everything it takes to be known as a hero. Some of Beowulf’s vital traits as warrior includes bravery, courage, honor, incredible physical strength, and the will to serve the people for the greater good. This poem is centered around him and that is all he needs to be portrayed as the hero he is.Most heroes has legendary status and accomplishments behind their names. The narrator first introduces Beowulf by describing him as ” the mightiest man on earth, high-born and power…”, immediately painting him as a powerful noble warrior with immortality (line 197). Beowulf introduces himself – by his name and a bold claim-  “….We are retainers from Hygelac’s band. Beowulf is my name.…”, illustrating that Hrothgar acknowledges Beowulf based on his patrimony; he commends Beowulf  as a soldier (lines 340-347). Even from his name meaning ,”bee/ bear wolf” from Old English,illustrating is strong and a warrior  like a bear or wolf is toward their family (Campbell, 2017).  His strength, honor, and courage is represented in his name. Beowulf asserts a bold accomplishment during the description of his swimming contest: “Often, for undaunted courage,fate spares the man it has not already marked…”, illustrating that Beowulf succeeds through bravery and courage (line 572-573). Beowulf speaks with humbleness, expressing he was permitted to be victorious in battle “… it was granted to me that I pierced the monster with my sword …”,  conveying that while Beowulf does boast about his accomplishments, he doesn’t have an ego. Beowulf is very respectful especially when “He held no claim on the king’s good will….”, illustrating that he very kind and honors Higlac (line 2186). Therefore, Beowulf’s praise and accomplishments illustrates that capable to serve the people in battle as a warrior.The first and vital quality of a hero is courage. A hero has characteristics of courage when conquering  their fears and confronting any villain ahead of him. Beowulf showcases an immense amount of courage and honor in everything he does. Beowulf is always ready to battle:”…he aimed an arrow at one of the beasts, swimming sluggishly away, and the point pierced its hide, stabbed to its heart….”(lines 1432-1435). Beowulf recognizes that if Grendel fights without a weapon, he will have to do the same:” … For this reason will I not give his life to the deep of death with a sword… make war without weapons…” (lines ). Before his encounter with Grendel, he “remove his iron breast-mail, took off the helmet and handed his attendant the patterned sword”, he wants to fight honorably — with his hands and “Let the wise God the holy Lord…”, illustrating that he will let God decide his fate (lines 671-673). “I barely survived the battle under water. It was hard-fought, a desperate affair that could have gone badly; if God had not helped me the outcome would have been quick and fatal.”, conveying that Beowulf is becoming more humble and credits God for his defeat of Grendel’s mother (lines 1054-1057). This also demonstrates that Beowulf isn’t overly confident. Impactful actions that Beowulf demonstrates, for example, “When it comes to fighting, I count myself…as dangerous any day as Grendel”, establishing his bravery and determination makes his more heroic (line 834-835). “Life doesn’t cost him a thought!”: Beowulf wasn’t afraid of death (line 1536). He doesn’t think twice about his life because he wants to be a savior for the people. Furthermore, a great warrior of hero rather die in battle. Beowulf says he “…fulfill the will of your people or else fall in slaughter…I shall achieve a deed of courage or else fall lived to see in his mead-hall my ending day”, illustrating that he would rather perish in battle than anywhere else (line 637-642). Beowulf even displays loyalty with honor because he is faithful to God and do whatever it takes to defeat the dragon. Honor is what propels Beowulf to sacrifice his life to fight Grendel and Grendel’s mother. Honor is what urges him to fight the dragon in the end. His honesty earns him the respect and admiration of others and leads him to be the server of society. Throughout Beowulf’s decisions, he displays honor, serves the people, modest, and believes his success will come through his faith with God– not necessarily his strength. To Beowulf, he values God for being a warrior and serving the people. The bravery and loyalty of god is important to Beowulf’s honor.An epic hero will have extraordinary strength in his battles. Throughout the story, Beowulf’s determination and strength was illustrated even up until his passing:” he cut the beast in half, slit it apart…” (line 185). His physical strength was displayed when he “lifted the sword that was so massive that no ordinary man could….” (line 213). Beowulf has experience fighting in war and claimed to have conquered monsters and giants: “….Have watched me rise from the darkness of war, dripping with my enemies’ blood. I drove five great giants into chains….” (lines 418-424).  Beowulf’s strength was even as strong as thirty men:” the strength of thirty men in his mighty handgrip”, illustrating that Beowulf strength is immortal. When Grendel battles Beowulf and  “…discovered himself in a handgrip harder than anything. Furthermore, Beowulf is very strong to the point he tore Grendel’s arm off with his bare hand:”It though, broken it off the monster’s Arm and ended its life, as Beowulf/ Had done armed with only his bare hands…”(lines 987-990).  Beowulf defeated Grendel and his mother; he kills Grendel’s mother when he “…struck with all the strength he had left, caught her on the neck and cut through it, broke bones and al…”(line 1557-1567) . Beowulf’s strength is very powerful that he “… all his strength, smashed the gray blade into the beast’s head”, conveying that Beowulf is powerful and stronger than any weapon ( lines 2680-2681). Beowulf’s victory in killing Grendel illustrates perfectly his physical strength sets him apart him the others– possessing power than the others. His conquering of Grendel , his mother, and the dragon further vindicates his character with bravery and establishes him as a true hero. This strength is vital of Beowulf’s heroism.            Furthermore, another characteristic hero must have is intelligence. Beowulf displays intelligence when “he arose with men/ Around him ordering a few to remain/ With their weapons”, coveting Beowulf’s intelligence in realizing that someone will steal their weapons if his warriors aren’t secure with them (line 134-137). Beowulf was very intelligent especially in battle. When Grendel appears, Beowulf’s reaction is ” …grasped at a strong-heart wakeful sleeper-And was instantly seized himself “, conveying that tricked Grendel by pretending to be asleep and doesn’t approach Grendel until it’s the right time ( line 314-323). This gives Beowulf the advantage on Grendel in their battle. The cunningness from Beowulf resulting to Grendel’s death is another reason that Beowulf earns the liberty to be a hero.           Above mentioned are some of the most vital qualities that a hero possesses. By Heaney showcasing Beowulf in battle,  Beowulf is considered a hero due to his heroic bravery, honor, intelligence and physical strength. He risks his life in battle to serves the people, fights honorably, and values his morals. Beowulf fits the perfect representation of a hero. Therefore, Beowulf is a hero.Work CitedBeowulf. Trans. Seamus Heaney. Norton Anthology of English Literature. Gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. A.Campbell, M. (2017). Meaning, origin and history of the name Beowulf. online Behind the Name. Available at: https://www.behindthename.com/name/beowulf Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.”hero.” Merriam-Webster.com. 2011. https://www.merriam-webster.com (8 Dec. 2017).

Categories: History


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