Beowulf: The Selfless Hero Essay

863 words - 3 pages

Beowulf: The Selfless Hero

Beowulf is an epic poem that describes the heroics of a man with superhuman strength and bravery to go with it. The poem starts with a journey across the sea to defeat an enemy that has plagued the land of Herot for twelve years. The poem ends with Beowulf’s final deed of defeating a dragon that was plaguing his own land, but with the defeat of the dragon also comes the death of Beowulf. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a poem of bravery by one of King Arthur’s knights. Sir Gawain takes up the deed of playing a Christmas game with the challenging Green Knight. The Green Knight takes a blow from an ax at the hand of Sir Gawain, and in one year and one day, the Green Knight is to reciprocate the action to Sir Gawain. While Sir Gawain was heroic in his deed, Beowulf shows a certain selflessness in his bouts makes him a better hero than Sir Gawain.

Sir Gawain was heroic in seeking out the Green Knight to finish the challenge that was brought to King Arthur’s men. “Said Gawain, ‘Strike once more; /I shall neither flinch nor flee; /But if my head falls to the floor /There is no mending me!’” (lns. 2280-2283) There was no physical power that forced Sir Gawain to keep true to his word. Gawain sought out the Green Knight, just as he had promised, and was now about to receive the blow that would send him to his death. This quote shows that Sir Gawain was ready to be dealt his fate, and that he knew there was no way for him to survive as the Green Knight had done earlier in the poem. This shows a very human side to Sir Gawain as he appears somewhat afraid of death, but ready to face it nonetheless. It is this willingness and readiness to accept death at the hand of the Green Knight that makes Sir Gawain a hero; however Beowulf faces much more fearsome foes and shows less fear when confronted with death.

Beowulf faced many enemies in his lifetime, but even more importantly, with every enemy he faced, he was prepared for death. “If this combat kills me, take care /of my young company, my comrades in arms. /And be sure also, my beloved Hrothgar, /to send Hygelac the treasures I have received.” (lns. 1480-1483) This quote shows that Beowulf thinks first of his people, then of his possessions. The quote starts with Beowulf facing the fact that he may not come back from this fight alive, revealing that although he has superhuman strength, he is still human...

Find Another Essay On Beowulf: The Selfless Hero

Beowulf - The Ideal Hero Essay

1910 words - 8 pages /slaying, loyal, courageous, indispensable, and (almost) invulnerable. For the hero, the highest good is glory and the highest evil is shame. Beowulf, the son of Ecgtheow and Hygelac’s thane is introduced by Heaney as a valiant warrior. The reader immediately notices that Beowulf is well respected. The tone of the work suggests that even the narrator holds him in high esteem, “the man whose name was known for courage, the Geat Leader” (Heaney, 11

The Ideal Hero in Beowulf Essay

1202 words - 5 pages Classifying whether or not Beowulf is an ideal hero, one would have to understand the definition of an ideal hero, and then the decision and whether he has any flaws within this understanding can be made. Beowulf identifies many traits to allow the reader to make his own assumption on this epic poem. According to the dictionary, “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities” (dictionary.com?) is the

The Complex Hero in Beowulf

998 words - 4 pages The story of Beowulf is one of the oldest examples of what society views as a hero. Though the story was written in Anglo-Saxon times, the credentials one would need in order to be considered by society a hero remain the same. The Anglo-Saxons believed that a hero was strong and courageous, but humble and kind as well. They also believed that a hero was intelligent and dignified, in which he would fight until death in order to defend his people

Beowulf the Anglo Saxon Hero

735 words - 3 pages The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of an Anglo Saxon hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters many monsters and horrible beasts, but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are outstanding and he is even

The Role of the Hero in Beowulf

1298 words - 5 pages and strong monster that terrorizes the Danes. Beowulf becomes a hero when he confronts Grendel and grabs him making Grendel afraid for his fate. Nevertheless, who is the real hero? Some think Beowulf is, but others, think is Grendel. No warrior before Beowulf dared fight Grendel, and Beowulf is able to kill Grendel. Grendel’s mother is angry with Beowulf for he has killed her only son. She attacks the Danes too and Beowulf fights her, killing

Beowulf as the Archetypal Germanic Hero

2108 words - 8 pages constant focus on heroes and what it is to be a hero. Beowulf, who is reflective of an older generation of heroes, strives for community. In contrast, Christianity's focus is on the individual. This conflict is ended once Beowulf, a figure of the past and the old world, passes on. With Beowulf, the hero dies. Hence, Beowulf's efforts to keep his culture and his ethics alive are impossible as war and Christianity conquer the Germanic land

Beowulf: The Ideal Anglo-Saxon Hero

860 words - 3 pages Originating in the Anglo-Saxon period, the epic poem Beowulf portrays a legendary hero. Beowulf established the earlier form of heroism, and was then later introduced in to the English culture. Praised and admired by many people, Beowulf possesses several distinct traits that allow him to be defined perfectly as an ideal Anglo-Saxon hero; his eagerness to seek glory and fame, rather than richness and treasures, his loyalty and graceful attitude

The Fate of a Hero in Beowulf

1902 words - 8 pages The Fate of a Hero “For a brief while your strength is in bloom/ but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow/ illness or the sword to lay you low… and death will arrive, dear warrior, to sweep you away”(1761-8). Hrothgar bestows his wisdom onto Beowulf after Beowulf has defeated Grendel and his mother. Hrothgar reminds him not to let pride overcome him for everything is eventually defeated due to the power of fate. This exemplifies a theme

Analysis of Beowulf as the typical Anglo-Saxon Hero

794 words - 3 pages thus highly prized. These ideals were passed on to the descendants of the Germanic peoples, the Anglo-Saxons. Such qualities can to define the Anglo-saxon idea of a hero. These traits are combined into the main character of the tale Beowulf. Beowulf epitomizes the Anglo-Saxon idea of a hero, showing honor, bravery, and Godly grace.Beowulf defines his heroic qualitites by dutifully upholding his honor. Though proud and seemingly arrogant, he always

Beowulf: The Embodiment of a Modern Day Hero

726 words - 3 pages A hero is defined as a man distinguished courage or ability; someone who is admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. When people are oppressed by an evil tyrant, a hero will rise above the circumstance, and conquer the evil that has harmed the people he wants to protect. The Anglo Saxon writer produced a great representation of a hero in Beowulf. If alive today, the protagonist Beowulf would be considered a hero. He possess attributes

Heroism displayed in the epic novel of BEOWULF and Sir Gawain. This essay compares and contrasts these two characters and defines what makes a true hero

1116 words - 4 pages Beowulf was written in the eighth century by monks. The word Beowulf means bee-hunter. It was the first book ever written. The Norse tale is principally concerning the exploits of the warrior Beowulf of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf most definitely proves to be a hero in this epic for he is able to conquer his obstacles due to his super-human physical strength, determination and courage.Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through

Similar Essays

Beowulf: The Epic Hero Essay

1451 words - 6 pages Beowulf, written between the 8th and 10th centuries, is an epic poem set in southern Sweden. The poem illustrates the Anglo-Saxon’s strong belief in the heroic code. The loyalty between the warrior and his king bound the culture together. The warrior was the ultimate hero who represented strength and courage. Beowulf, the hero in the poem, illustrates the Germanic principles of the heroic code. Through the battles and character

Beowulf The Ultimate Hero Essay

1714 words - 7 pages to God. Whenever he has conquered another team, or made the winning play, all praise is given to God. In the poem Beowulf, translated by Constance B. Hieatt, Beowulf is an epic hero. An epic is a 'lengthy narrative poem which genealogizes and embellishes the origin of a tribe or nation'. (Edward A. Bloom) Not only is Beowulf a hero because of his physical strength, but like Favre, gives the glory to God. Beowulf is the ultimate hero who put his

Beowulf, The New Hero Essay

618 words - 2 pages Do you remember when you were a kid and you saw that one special show that you loved so much? More than likely you looked up to the main character or the hero. Imagine if that character were Beowulf.I think a Saturday morning cartoon, like Beowulf, would be appropriate for younger children. There would have to be some editing done to the bloody scenes, of course. Beowulf is similar to the story of Hercules. If Hercules became a Saturday

The Mighty Hero Beowulf Essay

767 words - 4 pages though he didn’t die fighting Grendel, everyone in the kingdom of the Danes remembered him. They celebrated and worshiped him for killing Grendel. So to recap, Beowulf felt it was his obligation to go to Denmark and fight off Grendel. He would have a glory on his life for everyone to remember him by. Grendel became a hero that day and will only be getting bigger and better as the time goes on and fights of Grendel’s mother and in the end the dragon