Jarrod Cook

Mrs. Hoffman

Adv. English 12

25 September 2004

Beowulf Essay #1

Beowulf an Epic Hero

            The hero in the Anglo-Saxon’s epic poem Beowulf is a great warrior by the same name with astonishing capabilities.  He attains all the qualities of an epic hero during his quests throughout the poem.  Beowulf is well known throughout all the lands and has gained much fame.  He is called to Herot to defeat a monster that has been terrorizing their town.  On his arrival he receives a grand reception and Hrothgar demands, “to table, Beowulf, a banquet in your honor” (line 223 page 26).  Beowulf has been glorified by his previous quests and this is why he receives such a welcome.  Like all epic heroes Beowulf is on a quest to gain praise and fame.  Throughout the poem Beowulf’s quest is to protect Herot from the many monsters that threaten its existence.  He kills these monsters using the superhuman strengths that have been given to him.  He twisted and pulled Grendel’s arm and “the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder snapped, muscle and bone split” (line 497-9 page 34).  Beowulf also held his breath long enough to reach the place of Grendel’s mother where he used a giant’s sword to decapitate her.  Throughout his quests Beowulf remains ethical and fights for fame and pride not for the treasure that he will gain.  When Beowulf grows old and no longer has fate on his side he still refuses to give up the greater glory that is his.  There is no doubt left in the reader’s mind that Beowulf is brave.  Not only does Beowulf fight the monster Grendel, but also vows: “my hands alone shall fight for me” (line 172-3 page 25).  He is an excellent leader who is looked up to by all fourteen of the men who make up his army.  After he defeats Grendel’s mother he is given the throne to Herot, so that he may rule over and protect it for the remainder of his life.  Beowulf reflects all the ideals of the Anglo-Saxon time period (446-1066).  He is a strong warrior who values weapons as treasure and seeks nothing but fame.  These many virtues make Beowulf an epic hero who risks his own life to pursue his quests.