Western Civilization. Beowulf as a Hero


It is believed that Beowulf can be considered the oldest existing English epic poem, that was written somewhere around the 7th or the 8th century. Beowulf is about the grand Scandinavian hero known as Beowulf’s expedition to gratis Denmark by killing the monster, Grendel. Later on Beowulf is announced as the king of his homeland Geatland, but then later dies because of a fire-breathing dragon. The only well-known document can be found in the British Museum in London. Even though translations of the real document can be found everywhere, but the original manuscript was written in Old English. The author of the poem remains unknown to all.

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An epic is a lengthy storyline poem on a solemn theme. It basically tells us about the adventures of a hero. The hero is typically a stature of elevated social rank and one who is repeatedly of great chronological or well-known significance. In the classic poem “Beowulf”, the hero is Beowulf. He proves that he is a hero and a great person by at all times considering other things before thinking of his own needs. He is significant and desired by his populace and is acknowledged by many as an audacious and long-suffering person. Beowulf is a first-class exemplar of a spirited and strapping hero. He illustrates all of the characteristics and qualities that a true hero possesses (Heaney, p. 1-215).


As has been mentioned previously, Beowulf was written somewhere around the seventh or the eighth century by an unidentified author. The story basically focuses on Beowulf, the most important character, who is capable of using his super-human substantial potency and bravery to consider the priority of his people above his own desires. He comes across revolting monsters but never worries about the danger of death. Beowulf is the definitive hero who puts his life at risk a vast number of times for everlasting magnificence and for the betterment of others. But there are particular weaknesses in him as well such as a desire for pride as well as a bit of show off and dependence on material goods.


Beowulf is an extremely courageous and audacious individual. The actions that he takes against the fiend Grendel which was frightening the Danes proves that he had the tendency to help others while putting himself in risk. It is usually found in an epic that the hero basically settles on the providence of a homeland or grouping of people. In the poem we can find that Beowulf has unquestionably facilitated the Danes as well as his own nation the Geats in their achievement over malevolence by slaughtering Grendel his mother and the dragon. Beowulf has made attempts to help mankind to the best of his powers and because of that the Geats make him their king. Beowulf’s valiant actions and undertakings have given to the Danes and the Geats continued existence.

An additional attribute of a heroic poem is that the male protagonist carries out contemptible and from time to time extraordinary actions that can not be performed by a human. Beowulf is a major illustration of this category of hero. He takes it upon himself to clash Grendel and when Grendel’s mother wishes to take revenge he goes up to the lake and agrees to the challenge. He shows the immense individuality of potency and supremacy when, past fifty years, he decided to take up on the dragon who has grown to be a menace to the Geats. He at all times encounters his adversary with satisfaction. When Beowulf wrestles the dragon the rest of the people get scared and run away to the wooded area and conceal. By this we come to know that Beowulf possesses gutsy traits and is indisputably prepared and eager to help.

Frequently in an epic poem, the stratagem is intricate by paranormal life forms and events. Perfect illustration of this are when Beowulf has a clash with Grendel. Grendel has been portrayed as a monster and as is known to all, no such thing as a monster exists. This is also true for the dragon. All the way through times gone by, there is no evidence of the existence of a dragon that gets angry that a part of his treasure has been robbed. What is more is that at the time of Beowulf’s death we see him asking Wiglof to show him the treasure before he dies. It is known to all that no one can hold off their death till the time that they see a particular thing. These are perfect examples which portray that impediments are set up all the way through the scheme of an epic poem.

An epic poem generally puts forward the circumstances of superior and malevolence and existence and death. The epic poem Beowulf is inclusive of both of these things. The excellence is portrayed by using the proceedings of Beowulf and Wiglaf when they overcome the malevolence, which are revealed by Grendel, his mother, and the dragon. Superiority and iniquity always show the way to life and death. Life is portrayed by the good that live and death is portrayed by the evil that die most of the times. In Beowulf the good overpowered the evil. Beowulf was acknowledged by the Geats and the Danes as a very bighearted, kind, and brawny person, who would give away just about anything for the happiness and survival of others. These distinctiveness’ are what assist to categorize Beowulf as a proper epic hero.

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The poem has described to us a perfect hero. He was physically powerful, an exceptional combatant and very faithful to all who came into his incidence. The poem presents to us a vast number of examples of his great bravery and his ferocious strength. As can be seen in the poem, Beowulf took on monsters and killed them as well. He believed that whenever he went for a battle, the fight should be fair and no warrior should be given superior powers.

He could take up on anyone and overpower them because he had great skills as well as warrior talent and he did not fear anyone at all. At the time when he was fighting Grendel, a fiend who had been horrifying a rural community in the story, Beowulf brawls unarmed. This accomplishment took immense bravery and dexterous fighting. Beowulf took up on a vast number of great battles. But, finally in the last battle that he fought he got incurably injured, but he prevailed the battle before he passed away. This is what can be portrayed as the best example of the descend of a great hero.

Also, Beowulf was an exceptionally trustworthy hero. He showed evenhandedness to everyone that he came athwart, together with his enemies. He believed in the equality of everyone and did not believe that one could be superior or better as compared to the others. At the time when he was engaged in battle, Beowulf showed immense allegiance to his adversary by combating one-on-one. Nobody in the battle ever had the ascendancy. This is the most important feature in Beowulf’s prominence. He is also considered as a hero considering the fact that he got rid of Grendel and blocked him from killing any more of Hrothgar’s men. This proved his immense allegiance to Hrothgar and his populace.


The story of Beowulf presents to us numerous inspirations for the various characters. For instance, the first motivation for Beowulf is adventure, but his constrain in a while revolutionizes with the changes in the situations and circumstances. In the beginning, Beowulf is called upon so as to murder Grendel who has been horrifying the Hrothgar’s village. Beowulf, enthusiastic for exciting activity, speedily acknowledges the mission and brings his men to murder the enormous fiend.

Beowulf’s incentive rapidly turns to continued existence after he is detained by Grendel’s mother. Beowulf came to know about true terror when his bludgeon botched him in opposition to the monster’s charmed skin. He only just escaped death by getting his hands on an ancient sword that would go through the skin of the monster. By the conclusion of the story, Beowulf’s inspiration alters to that of self-importance. When a dragon starts to attack his villages, Beowulf believes that he has to slay the dragon in the same way that he did the other two monsters so many years before. He is warned by his followers that he will definitely face defeat, but he goes on nevertheless declaring that he has to save his kingdom. He is terminally wounded in the encounter, but with the assistance of one of his men he is capable of defeating the dragon previous to his death. Another appealing factor related to the story is that as Beowulf turns more and more reliant on substance goods (for example people, riches, weapons, etc.), he becomes more remote from the devout. With the progression of the three battles in which Beowulf takes part, he accomplishes more material goods. In the first encounter that takes place against Grendel, he kills him without the use of any weapons. In the second battle against Grendel’s mother, he makes use of the sword. He does not only rely on this sword, but when it fails him, he uses a giant’s sword that was found inside the warren. Eventually in the last battle, he becomes even more dependent and necessitates Wiglaf to help him. As can be seen in the poem, as soon as he starts depending on material goods, Beowulf starts getting weaker and weaker. He stops believing in his spiritual faith and his own power and depends more on material goods. This basically can be said to be the weakness of Beowulf as well as his undoing in particular. This is made clear by the storyteller at the conclusion of the story when he tells us of the buried treasure as now something which is as “useless as it was before.” (Killenback, p.1).


In the light of the above discussion we can hereby culminate that Beowulf is a poem that was written in the Old English by an unknown author somewhere around the seventh or the eighth century. The poem tells us about the bravery of Beowulf who is the hero of the poem and kills dragons and giants so as to save people from harm. He was a fair fighter, but later on his motivation changes and he focuses more on riches and goods and eventually dies because of his pride even though he had been warned by his followers not to fight against a monster at this old age.

Works Cited

Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. United States of America. W. W. Norton & Company. Pp. 1-215.

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1. StudyCorgi. "Western Civilization. Beowulf as a Hero." August 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/western-civilization-beowulf-as-a-hero/.


StudyCorgi. "Western Civilization. Beowulf as a Hero." August 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/western-civilization-beowulf-as-a-hero/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Western Civilization. Beowulf as a Hero." August 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/western-civilization-beowulf-as-a-hero/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Western Civilization. Beowulf as a Hero'. 25 August.

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