Being a hero can be defined many different ways. Several qualities like courage, respect, and strength can define heroism. A hero is noted for his or her actions for being brave, powerful, and acting with honor. In the epic poem, Beowulf, the main character Beowulf shows all of these characteristics by defending the Danish king, Hrothgar, and his people. He is a true hero by honoring his country and exerting his power and strength to protect others. Beowulf embodies the qualities of bravery, being powerful, and demonstrating his honor; therefore, he can be considered a true hero.
A way Beowulf demonstrates his heroism is the way he stays true to the Geats by honoring them. Before going into battle with Grendel’s mother, he tells Hrothgar to do something for him, “ If your enemy should end my life, then, oh generous prince, forever the father and protector of all whom I leave behind me, here in your hands, my beloved Comrades left with no leader, their leader dead. ”(ll. 1478-1482). By this dialogue, he expresses how much he cares for his soldiers and respects his men and country.
He is also honorable to his lord, Hrothgar. Anything I can do, here on this earth to earn your love, oh great king, anything more than I have done, battle I can fight in your honor, summon me, I will come as I came once before. ”(ll. 1822-1826). Beowulf’s honor far exceeds the average person’s, and his actions and words show for it. Not only is Beowulf honorable and well respected, he is brave as well. His courage is shown by not hesitating to risk his own life to pursue the Dane’s enemies. By being self-assured, Beowulf is able to successfully defeat the fiends, Grendel and his infamous mother.
At the time Beowulf is planning to pursue the vindictive dragon, the epic poem states, “I’ve never known fear, as a youth I fought in endless battles. I am old now, but I will fight again, seek fame still, If the dragon hiding in his tower dares to face me. ”(ll. 2511-2515). He feels no fear, is confident in fighting the dragon alone, and has no qualms in risking his life to save others. He declares his bravery by saying, “When he comes to me I mean to stand, not run from his shooting flames, stand till fate decides which of us wins…
No one else could do what I mean to, here, no man but me could hope to defeat this monster. ”(ll. 2525-2534). In his actions, Beowulf’s bravery is clearly shown throughout the poem. A final example of heroic qualities shown by Beowulf is his power. The mental and physical strength is mandatory to being a hero. No Dane, before Beowulf’s arrival, is able to defeat Grendel because of fear and weakness. Beowulf has the power to physically cripple and defeat Grendel. He is able to observe that Grendel’s exterior is impenetrable, so he then injures him the only way possible, from the inside out.
By tearing the beast’s limb off of his body, Beowulf is able to defeat the once thought immortal creature by being overpowering. “… not even the sharpest of swords could have cut it through, broken it off the monster’s arm and ended its life, as Beowulf had don armed with only his bare hands. ”(ll. 987-990). Beowulf also uses his strength to lift the sword, “so massive that no ordinary man could lift… ”(l. 1560), when trying to slay the she-demon in the marsh. Beowulf and his power are always victorious over every conflict faced.
In conclusion, Beowulf’s actions speak for what he stands for and believes in. Bravery is shown in his character by describing how he approaches his enemies and miscreants. Even at the time of his death, Beowulf shows honor and power by keeping his promise to defeat the malevolent dragon. By honoring his country and exerting his strength and power to keep guard for others, he is heroic . Although some may have various definitions of a hero, it would be difficult to disagree; by being brave, powerful, and honorable, Beowulf embodies the qualities of a true hero.