Beowulf Is An Epic Hero Essay

862 words - 3 pages

In the epic poem Beowulf, the protagonist Beowulf is shown as a hero with extrodinary strength. This is not what makes him a hero. By definition, a hero is a man of exceptional quality. However this term does not do Beowulf justice. His self-imposed purpose in life is to help others, and eventually sacrifices his own life in doing so. Beowulf’s battle with the dragon serves as a critique of the notion that Beowulf is a hero. The Dragon section displays many of Beowulf’s heoric characteristics. Beowulf establishes himself as a hero by fighting the dragon, exemplifing strength and courage when fighting the dragon, and sacrificing himself so that others can live.
Beowulf’s fight against the dragon shows Beowulf as a hero. Although Beowulf had previously defeated two other foes, he stands fast and fights his most formidable foe yet, the dragon. Dragons were notoriously difficult to kill, and the poem states that it was a great man, who could kill a dragon, even if it meant losing one's life. While others cower away Beowulf fights the dragon. Beowulf defeats the dragon but loses his life in the same instance. Like the classical hero Beowulf loses his special status in death. Beowulf sought no compensation for his services; the mere satisfaction of helping others was pay enough. Like his two previous battles Beowulf fights for those who could not fight for themselves.
While fighting the Dragon Beowulf shows feats of strength and courage that define him as a hero. The classical hero displays a special quality that separates him from the rest of
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society. In Beowulf, Beowulf shows extraordinary courage and strength that gives him special status. This notion is shown, when Beowulf fights Grendel and Grendel’s mother, but it is especially noticeable when he fights the dragon. When Beowulf fought Grendel others had the courage to attempt to fight him. The same is true with Grendel’s mother. When Beowulf goes to fight the Dragon, the other warriors cower away into the woods. Beowulf shows his courage by fighting the Dragon. Even when Beowulf is fighting the Dragon and realizes that his sword can do no damage he continues to fight. After Beowulf is on the verge of death he shows a combination of courage and strength by delivering the death blow to the Dragon, and not just laying down to die. Beowulf’s strength is shown when he is able to actually do battle with the Dragon; any normal man would have fallen to the dragon immediately.
Beowulf’s selfless act of sacrificing his life...

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