An epic is defined as a long narrative poem that traces the story of a hero. Stories throughout history have shown us many things about the culture and people of that time. While many stories have heros and morals, there remains something much more that sets an epic apart from the rest of literature. "Beowolf" is an amazing story that exhibits all aspects of a proper epic.
While many things define an epic poem, one very important aspect is that the hero of the story is identified with society, the hero, Beowulf clearly identifies himself with both the Dane and Geat people. Beowulf the main character of the story is the archetypical hero. He is a legendary character who embodies the goals and virtues of an entire nation or culture. He is loved by his followers and earned their respect through his actions. 'Hrothgar replied, protector of the Danes: “Beowulf, you’ve come to us in friendship…' (190-191). When Beowulf first arrives at Harot hall, he is welcomed by Hrothgar and the many men that seek his help against the monster Grendel. He brings together both the Geats and the Danes, and represents the danes in the best manner possible. "Danes and visiting Geats Celebrated as one, drank and rejoiced," (231-232). He represented his fellow Geats while also taking on the goals and virtues of the Danes by taking the task of fighting the dragon and Grendel who threatened and killed many Danes. Beowulf's courageous lifestyle enabled him to take this task on. He was extremely determined to fuel a safe environment for his people, because of this he was able to accomplish the goal of his people, safety.
As well as exhibiting all of what a true epic hero must, Beowulf does many great deeds in battle, which only adds to his heroic persona. While taking on the challenge of the seven day swim with Brecca, Beowulf exhibits many heroic attributes. "As they willed, and you struggled seven long nights To survive. And at the end victory was his, Not yours," (250-252). As Umferth tells Beowulf of his defeat, Beowulf responds with a greater truth which reveals his great strength. He tells of his fight with the sea monsters which kept him from winning the race."Other monsters crowded around me, Continually attacking. I treated them politely, Offering the edge of my razor-sharp sword"(293-295). Beowolf responds with this information that changes many view points on the whole endeavor, including respect for Beowulf. Although Beowulf is telling of his in his own bias point of view it remains to show the great deed Beowulf exhibited.
In order for a great story to be considered an epic, it must also provide the reader with a broad, and sometimes supernatural setting. Many locations are unknown during the story. While many of the people are supernatural themselves, "Beowolf" resides with many magical and supernatural events and locations of the people. "These beautiful plains marked off by oceans. Then proudly setting the sun and moon To glow across the...