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Heroism Displayed In The Epic Novel Of Beowulf And Sir Gawain. This Essay Compares And Contrasts These Two Characters And Defines What Makes A True Hero.

1116 words - 4 pages

Beowulf was written in the eighth century by monks. The word Beowulf means bee-hunter. It was the first book ever written. The Norse tale is principally concerning the exploits of the warrior Beowulf of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf most definitely proves to be a hero in this epic for he is able to conquer his obstacles due to his super-human physical strength, determination and courage.Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. In his argument with Unferth, Beowulf explains the reason he "lost" a simple swimming match with his youthful opponent Brecca. Not only had Beowulf been swimming for seven nights, he had also stopped to kill nine sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. Beowulf is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel's mother, who is seeking revenge on her son's death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster's neck with a Giant's sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he decapitates her, he carries her head from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall. This strength is a key trait of Beowulf's heroism.Another trait that Beowulf possess' is his determination. He went to the land of the Geats determined to free them of Grendel's evil grasp. His determination and fortitude drove him to complete the task he came to do. He then is compelled to completely end all grieving for the Geats by killing the maleficent mother of Grendel. When he stands before the blood stained lake to where the mother dwells. He dives forth into the whimsical waters without being influenced by his cowardly fellow knights. His determination drives him to slay her. Again he shows his great determination to help his people when a dragon posses a threat to their well-being. In an attempt to slay it he was killed. He was so determined to succeed in this third task that although his men ran away, he still strived to kill the creature.Beowulf has such courage. He is always able to put his peoples welfare before his own. Beowulf's uncle is king of the Geats so he is sent as an emissary to help rid the Danes of the evil Grendel. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking help from no one. He realizes the dangers but fears nothing for his own life. After Beowulf had served his people as King of the Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon who is frightening all of his people. Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon in order to protect his people. Even in death he wished so secure safety for the Geats so a tall lighthouse is built in order to help the people find there way back from sea. Beowulf has such courage that he is not even afraid to die. He always explains his death...

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