Not a lot of people have the capability of becoming that shining armored hero...

somebody has to do it. This is where Beowulf, the prime protagonist in the Anglo-Saxon epic
poem Beowulf comes in to play his well known part. Set in the Anglo-Saxon era of Europe, the
epic poem “Beowulf” is said to be written by monks and tells of a brave hero who defeats three
different equally ferocious monsters. Throughout the Anglo-Saxon folk epic, Beowulf exhibits a
variety of heroic attributes; however, his damaging properties such as his hubris conquer his
ultimate pessimistic yet prominent fate.
Beowulf’s flaws cause him to grow faulty in his actions and eventually make such a
wrong mistake that it leads him to dire consequences. Beowulf’s over violent nature takes the
better of him in every single battle and therefore consumes his life. When Beowulf’s sword
“caught [Grendel’s mother] in the neck” and “Her body fell/to the floor, lifeless”, Beowulf finds
pleasure in the sight of all the crimson red blood in a pool around him (251-254). He even uses
Grendel’s arm as “the victory, for the proof” and hangs his “arm, claw, shoulder and all” on the
walls of the castle as a symbol of strength for Beowulf (124-126). It is clear that Beowulf’s
violent nature of killing can often to the boundary of extremes to the point where he enjoys the
misery of their deaths and is determined to always store the monsters as victory trophies which
causes to lose sight of really big dangers when they arrive, such as with the dragon. Beowulf’s
overconfidence fails him as he goes into battles without thinking. Feeling “resolute and high-
born”, Beowulf refuses to use a sword and instead “make good [his] boast” as he did with
Grendel in the past (277-280). He also declines help as he feels it is not “up to any man except
[himself]/to measure [their] strength” with the fiercely powerful underestimated dragon
(291-294). So, Beowulf, being too sure of his skill and strength, even at his old age, battles the
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dragon alone with significantly little help. He had underestimated the dragon immensely by
comparing past battles with Grendel and his mother and the battle to come with the dragon, who
was probably far stronger than both Grendel and his mother combined.
Beowulf’s heroic properties, however, give a whole new light on this epic hero as he
conquers with his exceptional abilities. Beowulf’s faith in God gives him a distinguished
advantage in his battles with Grendel and Grendel’s mother. It was “God, who sent him victory”
not Beowulf himself when he was battling Grendel’s mother which is why “Beowulf was back
on his feet and fighting” (237-241). The poet always makes sure the readers understand every
victory won by Beowulf has only been due to the fact God was on his side and that is because
God has allowed Beowulf’s skills to overcome the monsters, not because he is actually skilled
which related to how God controls most of the fate and whether or not someone is worthy of
being a hero. Beowulf’s superhuman strength help him in the toughest of situations as he fights
for his people. Grendel realizes too late that of “all the men on earth”, Beowulf “Was the
strongest” (77-82). Beowulf’s ability to defeat Grendel and other two monsters gives the reader
the idea that he has these majestic out of this world abilities that are definitely uncommon in that
time whose acts will also determine the fate of his nation as he goes on to become king.
Beowulf’s generosity for others gives him the capability to become a glorious king and rule over
his people. In his final moments of life, he is grateful he has “been this allowed to leave my
people/so well endowed” with the treasure he acquired from the dragon (412-415). Even as he
dies, Beowulf makes sure and is also glad that he is leaving a large fortune for his people to use
for the advancement of his kingdom (the Geat people) which should have resulted in high power
and authority to their nation.
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Beowulf, the superhuman hero in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, while he may be
overconfident and exceedingly violent, exhibits a great deal of heroic characteristics and customs
that add to his long list of victories. These sort of attributes could compare to the modern day
American soldier who as well may get overconfident in his skills but is overall looked at as a
hero in every other aspect and why, most likely, they are both so well revered in literature and
modern world alike.
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