Is Beowulf's Characteristics Of An Epic Hero?

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Beowulf, the hero of the epic poem Beowulf, undoubtedly exhibits every characteristic of an epic hero. Although he exhibits all sixteen characteristics, there are four that are prominent: a noble birth, supernatural strength, courage and appearance. Firstly, Beowulf comes from a strong lineage of nobility. When King Hrothgar first hears Beowulf’s name he states, “His father before him was called Ecgtheow. Hrethel the Geat gave Ecgtheow his daughter in marriage. This man is their son…”(Heaney373-375). This passage explains that Beowulf is the nephew of a great king, and therefore royalty. Since Hrothgar recognized his name and his lineage, he allowed Beowulf to enter his kingdom, and gives him the opportunity to defeat Grendel. Secondly, Beowulf displays superhuman strength on multiple accounts.…show more content…
Heaney wrote that the sword is “from the days of the giants, an ideal weapon…but so huge and heavy of itself only Beowulf could wield in battle”(1559-1562). This quote can be explained as proof that Beowulf’s strength prevails beyond that of any natural man, that his strength is that of a supernatural being. Thirdly, throughout the epic poem Beowulf is the embodiment of courage. When boasting to Hrothgar, Beowulf states, “I battled and bound five beasts… and in the night-sea slaughtered sea-brutes…now I mean to be a match for Grendel”(420-425). This is an excerpt of Beowulf’s accounts of his courageous acts. He ends the boast by declaring he will defeat Grendel, the ultimate act of courage. Lastly, Beowulf is described as having a strong, impressive appearance through the entire poem. In the beginning, when Beowulf is first spotted by the guard, the guard says, “I have never seen so impressive or large an assembly of strangers”

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