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Beowulf As An Epic Hero Essay

1034 words - 5 pages

Every epic hero possesses certain heroic characteristics. Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities: epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They have a noble birth and show great bravery. They display great intelligence and resourcefulness. They have a reverence for G-d and for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they conquer evil (Vivone 9/27/99). In addition to Beowulf’s heroic qualities, he is very strong. Beowulf was said to have “the strength of thirty [men] in his mighty handgrip” (Bloom 11). Early proof of Beowulf’s extraordinary strength is evidenced by his dismemberment of Grendel’s ...view middle of the document...

Grendel has terrorized Herot for twelve years. Grendel attacks only one night; one time he grabs thirty people and takes “his slaughtered feast of men to his lair’ (Bloom 10). Grendel eats the flesh and blood of men and enters their houses by way of doors (Nicholson 74). Before Beowulf attempted to rid the land of Grendel, men tried to slaughter him, “but their points could not hurt him, the sharpest and hardest iron could not scratch at his skin” (48). Beowulf kills Grendel by first watching his attack. Beowulf grabs hold of Grendel’s claws and finally rips off his arm. In the morning, warriors look for the body of Grendel by following his bloody trail. They cannot find his body and turn back. Hrothgar’s men finally think that they no longer will be plagued with the presence of the monster and that now they can sleep in peace.
However, their sleep did not last long. During the night, Grendel’s mother came to avenge her son’s death. She enters the hall and grabs Aeschere and her son’s arm. Beowulf goes to follow her and swims for an entire day in her pool before he sees the bottom of the mere. When Beowulf descends into Grendel’s mere, he loses ground as the fight progresses. It is then assumed that Beowulf is fighting desperately for his life. Then, the water closed over him. It was “the space of a day,” before he could see the bottom of the mere (Burlin 121). The hero’s physical powers grow far beyond human dimensions. Beowulf is about to attempt to use a weapon although they were useless against her; “then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy sword...but so massive that no ordinary man could life its carved and decorated length” (72). Once he is in Grendel’s mother’s mere, Beowulf remains underwater for more than a day (Burlin 120). Finally, Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother, and her blood melts his sword (Bloom 16).
Thus far, Beowulf has killed two man-like monsters. Beowulf’s last battle with a dragon is the final substantial fantastic element in this epic...

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