Beowulf Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By saammy
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Epic Hero

An epic hero is a brave and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or affected by grand events. Beowulf is an epic hero who has an extraordinary amount of great strength. His character in the epic poem shows all of the characteristics that he needs to be an epic hero. The main characteristics of Beowulf are his personality, his great strength and his heroic code.
The personality trait that Beowulf contributes to being an epic hero is his humility. This supports him being an epic hero because it shows his humbleness when it comes to how great other people thought he was. He didn't take pride in being the strong and noble person he was. For instance, when Beowulf goes to battle with Grendel, he says he will win if it is God’s will. Here, Beowulf shows how he is not overconfident about himself and he shows how he is trusting in what ever happens, if he wins or loses, that that will be the right thing to happen. Another example of his humbleness and modesty is when Beowulf goes to Herot and approaches the king, Hrothgar, with deep respect. This shows how Beowulf does not have pride in himself. Something an epic hero wouldn't have either.
The second characteristic that Beowulf proves to have to be an epic hero is his physical strength. In lines 380-384, it shows how much actual strength Beowulf possesses. Another example would be when he goes into battle with Grendel’s mother. Here, he proves his extraordinary strength when he decides to throw his sword aside and fight Grendel’s mother with his bare hands. He actually fought and killed her only using his hands, nothing else.
Yet another characteristic Beowulf possesses to be an epic hero is his heroic code. For example, in lines 261-266 it shows his noble birth from his outstanding and wise father, Edgetho. This proves him to be of great importance since he is the descendant from…...

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...unsuccessful downfall in his life. Beowulf was not able to put his internal struggles to an end. Instead, these struggles brought him to his inglorious end. Greed is one of the unpropitious qualities that Beowulf possessed and battled internally throughout the course of his life.Beowulf avarice for fame is the principal factor that drove him from Geatland to Daneland in a time when no one,not even the Danes’ great lord, was able to defeat a terrifying fiend named Grendel. When he met with Hrothgar, Beowulf even stated that his lord Higlac might think less of him if he was afraid to fight the monster and “hid behind some broad linden shield“.Beowulf’s greed for gaining glory instigated Beowulf to go on a second battle with Grendel’s mother.Hrothgar said that after Beowulf defeats Grendel’s mother, he will be rewarded with “heaped-up ancient treasure” for the battle he wins.Without giving a second thought, Beowulf agreed that he will fight .The same greed also provoked him to fight the horrendous dragon. He did not want to lose his fame and for this reason, he knew he had to go in a battle with the dragon in order to maintain his glory as a king. Pride was another detrimental quality Beowulf struggled with that predominated different periods in his life.Beowulf’s overconfidence was first evident in an event that Unferth,Hrothgar’s courtier, recalls. After Beowulf enters Herot Hall and flaunts about his great achievements, Unferth referred to Beowulf as “the......

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Analysis of Christian and Pagan Themes in Beowulf

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...around him, the lake itself like a fiery flame.” The story of Beowulf is of a hero saving innocent people from monsters by killing them. Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic; it is a story about heroism, honor, glory, goodness and the fight against evil. The hero of the story is warrior Beowulf. Beowulf has to fight three evil monsters throughout his life in the story. Beowulf, the hero and main character of the story had to fight a giant monster, Grendel with his bare hands, Grendel’s mother with a giant’s sword, and a fire-breathing dragon. He is the strongest amongst all men. His fuel for fighting these monsters is the unending thirst for glory; glory he could die for, glory that a lord seeks. His heroic abilities were present from the start. Beowulf’s character is described as if he were god. Beowulf is a form of god descended from the sky to send the demons to their final destination, hell. Beowulf’s resume includes killing sea monsters and giants. This clearly depicts the fact that he is a man with great power. Throughout the epic, Beowulf has been characterized as a supreme and divine man, a god in form of man. The quote from the epic ”a brilliant light burned all around him”, a phrase from The Battle with Grendel’s Mother, clearly means that the divine light is shone upon Beowulf to protect him and destroy evil. The powers only god could have. The clear light represents life, glowing, and guiding lord Beowulf find evil. It guides the all-powerful find his way and......

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... In the epic poem of Beowulf, there are many events where supernatural strength is used by not only Beowulf himself, but as well as Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a few other characters throughout the poem. The story starts off with the battle with Grendel, and both Beowulf and Grendel have supernatural strength, and so does Grendel’s mother. Beowulf and Grendel are both larger than life and they are both strong, and they have supernatural strength. In this poem, Beowulf does what is best for his people. He defends them and he eventually becomes king and is praised very frequently for his heroic duties. That is mainly what makes Beowulf larger than life, or what some may call famous. He takes care of his people and in exchange they take care of him. Grendel is an enormous, creature that was a decedent of Kane and he had been holding Denmark hostage for 12 years before Beowulf arrived. years. His demeanor is what really made him an outsider and people didn’t accept him. Beowulf’s first battle was with Grendel. The twelve foot beast rudely interrupted a celebration in the Hall that King Hrothgar had built for his people to come and fellowship with each other. Grendel was well known for his terrorism in many different situations. Beowulf’s warriors couldn’t harm the beast because Grendel had put a curse against all weapons to harm him. That being, Beowulf ripped off Grendel’s arm which was the only way to defeat him. King Hrothgar was pleased that Beowulf had defeated Grendel......

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...Beowulf: Christian or pagan? The epic poem, Beowulf, which was composed about 850 CE, is a tale of a warrior named Beowulf. The plot of Beowulf primarily revolves around the expeditions and fights that Beowulf undertakes throughout his life. Regarding this poem, one of the essential controversies is whether it is a Christian or pagan poem. In the text, Beowulf is depicted as the one who values his own fame most and is hallowed highly by people due to his violence in battle. These characteristics of Beowulf seem to separate the poem from Christianity. Although the poem appears to be originally pagan, Beowulf is a Christian poem in terms of its historical background, biblical allusions, and the characters’ beliefs and reliance on God. First, the author of Beowulf lived in a period when the transformation from Germanic paganism to Christianity occurred. When Beowulf was written, the old paganism was dying out, and the influx of Christianity from Europe and Ireland had taken place. “This transformation reached every level of society and affected nearly every aspect of daily life” (Streissguth 83). Due to this Christian influence, people had to make a radical change, discarding the old beliefs that value courage, vengeance, and violence in gory battle. The poet of Beowulf was also a part of this drastic change of the era. The “nameless author undoubtedly was a Christian” (Bloom 1). We can observe the author’s Christian quality when he blames people who return to paganism in the......

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...was part of their code of behavior. Refusing to do so seems insane, because otherwise how would the killing ever stop?) • So Grendel pretty much takes over Heorot Hall, although God keeps him from approaching Hrothgar's throne. (That kind of thing happens when you're the descendant of Cain, apparently.) • Everyone wants to give King Hrothgar their two cents about how to get rid of Grendel. Some of them give advice about military strategy; others turn to idolatry and offer sacrifices to pagan gods. The narrator condemns their paganism and rejoices in the fact that he lives in a time where people know Christianity and can turn to "the Lord God, Head of the Heavens and High King of the World" (181-182) for help. (Confused about religion in Beowulf? Check out what we have to say about religion in the "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" section.) • Despite all the good advice, Hrothgar and his followers can't defeat Grendel, and he keeps killing the Danes in the darkness of night. • Across the water from the Danes in Geatland (today part of Sweden), the mightiest warrior on earth, a follower of King Hygelac, decides that he will travel to the Spear-Danes and help King Hrothgar defeat Grendel. He orders that a boat be made ready. • Everyone knows better than to argue with this warrior or try to stop him. Instead, they help him get ready. They enlist fourteen other warriors to accompany him. • Loading their ship with weapons, the mysterious hero and his followers set sail. After a......

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Beowulf Analysis

...image of a “knight and shiny armor”. A modern hero like Harry Potter, from the Harry Potter series, and an Anglo- Saxon hero like Beowulf, from Beowulf, are fairly similar, yet are completely different. ​These heroes have different motives, these two heroes are set in different times. Harry Potter was set in the nineties and Beowulf in the eighth century. Having different time settings makes the motives of the heroes different. Harry Potter’s reasoning to do things is based out of love. Love is a big part of his life even though his parents, his godfather and his mentor died he is still able to love. Without love he wouldn’t be alive, he would have died an infant. Harry relies on love to trust in his friends to help him in his battles. Beowulf never really had anything close to family, so he did not have anything equivalent to love. Which made him have different motives. That were simply fighting in favor of his king. His battles were never for personal reasons because he did not have an emotional attachment to anything. For example, when he went to go fight Grendel it was because he owed him a favor not because the battle was centered around him. Beowulf is very self-confident. When he was waiting in the hall he said that “Grendel is no braver, no stronger than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not, easy as it would be.” (Raffel 44). Beowulf claims that he can defeat a demonic monster that was spawned by Cain and that it would be too easy a fight if he used a......

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...the evolution of society. In the days of Beowulf and the Vikings, a hero was a man who was strong and courageous, willing and able to protect his tribe and provide for his people. But today, since our culture has vastly changed, so has the meaning of this word; now it is used for the brave and selfless people of the world. Though Beowulf may have acted in ways that were not so heroic, he should be recognized as a hero. Many people recognize Beowulf as the hero of Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf was the first poem told in Anglo-Saxon England sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries, but it's not actually set in that time and place. It's actually set several hundred years earlier, in the 5th or 6th century. Beowulf does not take place in England, instead, the action happens in the land of the Danes what is known as the nation of Denmark and the land of the Geats which today is known as the nation of Sweden. The main action of the story is set around 500 a.d. Judging by Beowulf’s many feats and strengths, Beowulf’s heroism is not hard to believe. When Beowulf slays the monster Grendal in the classic tale," he was considered a great hero. The slaying of Grendel required courage, bravery, intelligence, perseverance, and mental and physical strength. Certain passages in the story support the opinion that Beowulf has all these qualities. However, in the epic, Beowulf explores the great lengths the character had to go through to succeed. Beowulf did anything in his power to prevail,......

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