The world of Beowulf is not like how we see the world today. In today’s society Beowulf would be equivalent to a infantry soldier in today’s military. He puts his own well being on the line for the greater good of everyone else. His heroics are unparalleled to the gratitude we can give. During this time period there are a different set of cultural values, as well as societal values.
Beowulf symbolized the qualities of bravery, being powerful, and demonstrating his honor, so he can be considered a hero. Even though there are a lot of different values, they work together to reflect the reputation and honor of Beowulf. Commonly epic heroes have super strength, are fearless of death, are brave, and altruistic. Many could say that Beowulf is a perfect example of an epic Hero. Beowulf shows that he will do anything for fame, glory, and the greater good of the society.
He continuously risks his life in all of his adventures to save his society and he does not let fear take over. People felt that when he accomplished all of the great adventures he had done, it made his worthy of glorification. They treasured beowulf throughout the society and look up to him to protect everyone.
Throughout the story, Grendel, Grendel’s mom, and Beowulf show traits of being a hero and a villian. Beowulf has superhuman strength because he kills grendel with his bare hands. During the battle with Grendel, Grendel tends to see Beowulf’s extraordinary strength, “Knew at once that nowhere on earth had he met a man whose hands were harder; His mind was flooded with fear but nothing could take his talons and himself from that tight Hard grip” (Beowulf pg.1).
To declare his victory and victory over evil, Beowulf hangs Grendel’s arm, which he savagely ripped from the beast, from the ceiling. ¨Then 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 to lift its carved and decorated length.¨ (Beowulf pg.5) Later, Beowulf goes on to kill Grendel’s mother, who is even more viscous than Grendel.
In the battle with Grendel’s mother there is yet another example of Beowulf’s superhuman strength when Beowulf lifts a huge, massive sword that was hanging on the wall and kills Grendel’s mother with it. It is said that the sword was so massive that no ordinary man would have the strength to lift it but Beowulf is not like most men. Some people may say Beowulf is a villian as well. ¨He twisted in pain, and the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder snapped, muscle and bone split and broke.¨ (Beowulf pg.2)
Beowulf aggressively ripped off Grendel’s arm and there was no need to go to that extreme. Grendel may have been a monster but Beowulf could have ended his life a little differently. Beowulf defeated grendel for the good of the society. He was protecting his people from anything dangerous until he made Grendel’s mom upset for killing her son. She later came back for revenge. Beowulf being the hero he is, goes on another quest to protect his home town and everyone inside the society.
Another Character in the story would be Grendel. Grendel is a monster that has been terrorizing the danes for twelve years. Grendel comes into the Herot while soldiers are sleeping and attacks while he thinks nobody is watching. ¨Human eyes were watching his evil steps,waiting to see his swift hard claws.¨ (Beowulf pg.1)
Beowulf was watching grendel the whole time he thought everyone was asleep. Grendel was trying to be sneaky but Beowulf was one step ahead of him. Grendel portrayed villain traits by attacking people in the herot for no reason. Grendel had been terrorizing the danes for years now and Beowulf came in to become the towns hero and save everyone from the monster known as Grendel. Grendel never portrayed any heroic traits throughout the story.
After Grendel is defeated, his mother learns about her son’s death, and then is set on killing Beowulf. Anglos Saxon culture is portrayed when Beowulf decides to take the king’s offer and kill Grendel’s mother. “Grendel’s mother is hidden in her terrible home, in a place you’ve not seen. Seek it, if you dare! Save us, once more, and again twisted gold, heaped up ancient treasure, will reward you for the battle you win!”(Beowulf pg.4) Grendel’s mom lives in the same dark place Grendel did.
Her home is scary and a place nobody has seen before. ¨Grendel’s monstrous mother, in grief of her son, next attacks herot¨(Beowulf pg.4) After grendel was killed, his mother set off for revenge against Beowulf. She would fight until her son’s death was avenged. Grendel’s mom was more evil that Grendel was and that made it harder for Beowulf to defeat her. Beowulf and Grendel’s mom had a battle to the death and luckily Beowulf never gave up and defeated her to protect everyone else from evil.
Beowulf was the chosen one to save and protect the world from evil. Throughout the story Beowulf possess all the characteristics of an epic hero. An epic hero can be defined as a brave and noble character.
- “Beowulf.” Elements of Literature, Sixth Course. Holt, Rinehart, Winston. Orlando. 2005.