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Question: ( 1 ) : Discuss Beowulf is an epic hero in the

poem Beowulf.
Answer: 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 for a hero. He is
capable of using his super-human physical strength
and courage to put his people before himself. He
encounters hideous monsters and the most ferocious
beasts, but he never fears the threat of death. His
leadership skills are superb and he is even able to
boast about all his achievements. Beowulf is the
ultimate epic hero who risks his life countless times
for immortal glory and for the betterment of others.
Beowulf comes as a rescuer of Hrothgar, the
king of Danes. The great hall, Heorot, built by
Hrothgar, is ravaged by Grendel. The monster has
slain all who ventured to stay in the hall at night.
Beowulfs heroic heart is thrilled and his chivalrous
spirit roused, as he hears the state of affairs at
Heorot, his friends great all. He resolves to set
Heorot free from the monster and with the help of
some valiant Geats, crosses the sea and reaches
Heorot. Beowulf swears boldly that he will slay
Grendel. When the night comes, only Beowulf and his
men are left in the hall to meet the formidable
adversary. All these details definitely indicate two
aspects in Beowulfs character his adventurous
spirit and his undaunted courage. He is ready for any
eventuality and fears no foe to establish his promise
and protect the weak against the wicked.
His strength and gallantry come out in his
struggle with Grendel. As Grendel enters the hall,
with his enormous strength, Beowulf readily
challenges him. Although Grendel possesses the
giants strength, Beowulf tears away his arm, and the

fiend flees to the sea-cave only to die. His heroic

strength is, thus, clearly established and the poem
serves to emphasise this. In this portion, he
represents fully the heroic spirit of a remote Heroic
Age that valued gallantry and might above all other
His heroism comes to the limelight further, as
the vengeance of Grendels mother begins. She
comes to take revenge of her sons death, rushes to
Heorot and kills one of Hrothgars dearest friends and
bears away his dead body to her cave. When Beowulf
is informed of this, he resolves to take vengeance. He
tells his fiend with a heroic urge:
Better vengeance for a friend than too much of
sorrow for him,
who can win honour let him do it
before he dies for that is best for him, when he is
This is truly the resolution of an inspired epic hero
and Beowulf is an ideal Teutonic epic hero.
Beowulf is determined that Grendels mother
can never escape from him. He goes to her cave,
triumphs over her and returns victoriously on the
bloody sea bearing Grendels head. He, thus, becomes
epic hero in strength and performance,
overpowering the dreadful foes with superb prowess.
His heroism is, however,
struck more
prominently in the last part of the epic in his
encounter with the dragon. Enraged by the ravage of
his treasures by some Geats, that fierce, firebreathing dragon begins to ransack Beowulfs people
and kingdom. The king is old but valorous still, and
comes out to save his people from that terrible fiend.
He has a gallant fight with the dragon, over-powered

the foe, but himself received a fatal blow and died

heroically. His death shows his greatness and
establishes the heroic spirit of which he is made of.
Here again he, in his heroic death, idealises the truly
chivalric and heroic spirit of an age of heroism.
Yet, the Teutonic hero in Beowulf is not merely
a pagan hero and leader, a non-Christian prince of
vigour and spirit. He is found to bear in plenty a good
deal of Christian idealism. In his spirit of chivalry,
dedication and self-sacrifice, this pagan sovereign
attains the blessed virtue of Christianity.
So it is apparent from the discussion that
Beowulf is the prime example of an epic hero. His
bravery and strength surpass all mortal men and all
revere his loyalty. Beowulf came openly and
wholeheartedly to help the Danes which was an
unusual occurrence in a time of war and widespread
fear. He sets a noble example for all human beings
realising the necessity of brotherhood and friendship.
Beowulf is most definitely an epic hero of epic