A hero is someone with the emotional capacity to alter significantly, the lives of others for the better. In some cases, physical accommodation is necessary as well. The epic, Beowulf, by an unknown poet, accurately portrays the characteristics of an epic hero. Strong and intelligent, the hero in the story, Beowulf, defeats many evils and pieces many nations back together. Frequently, Beowulf performs courageous tasks, which determine the fate of many nations, and his actions reflect heavy, timeless values. These characteristics are evidence of Beowulf’s heroism.
Beowulf, who claims to be the mightiest warrior in existence, courageously destroys any monster in his path. As he converses with Hrothgar, king of a land terrorized by the evil monster Grendel, he expresses his power shown in the past. Beowulf tells Hrothgar, “I drove Five great giants into chains, chased/All of that race from the Earth,” speaking of his evil-fighting past (154-155). Raising justice against these monsters takes a lot of strength, which many men do not have.
Beowulf, however, carries the necessary amount of power to complete these tasks. Later on, when Beowulf finally gets in front of Grendel, “He who had come to them from across the sea, … had driven affliction/Off, purged Herot clean,” just as he has promised. Beowulf puts forth his best effort and kills Grendel, even with strength left in him (Lines 347-349). This is something no ordinary man can do. Beowulf carries such strength, which allows him to defeat almost anything and anyone.
Beowulf’s feats almost always determine the fate of one or more nations. For instance, After Beowulf marvelously defeats Grendel, “Old and young rejoiced, turned back From that happy pilgrimage, mounted their hard-hooved Horses, high-spirited stallions, and rode them Slowly toward Herot again, retelling Beowulf’s bravery as they jogged along” (Lines375-379). The men of Herot are so happy that Grendel is gone and they can now live the lives of free men.
Due to Beowulf’s might, they no longer need to fret about the destruction occurring all around them. In addition, after Beowulf practically came back from the dead and defeated Grendel’s mother, the Geats, “Thanked God that their leader had come back unharmed” (Line582). The actions of the Geats show just how much Beowulf’s actions affect them. They all cheer throughout the land. Because Beowulf heard of Grendel’s infamous actions and even witnessed them himself, he saved the lives of many men in different lands.
Beowulf reflects many timeless values such as honor and having a strong will. Not considering the matter fully, “[Beowulf] leaped into the lake, would not wait for anyone’s/Answer,” so that he may fight Grendel’s mother, at the end leaving her writhing in her home (Lines450-451). The fact that Beowulf takes himself into the lake with hardly a second thought, shows the amount of courage he carries. Wherever he may be, Beowulf takes on whatever challenge is in front of him, almost breaking the fetters of mortality.
Beowulf holds endless honor; he communicates this with his telling to Wiglaf of the way he has saved his society. Lying in livid wounds, defeated, Beowulf says to Wiglaf, “’I can leave/This life happy; I can die, here,/Knowing the Lord of all life has never/Watched me wash my sword in blood/Born of my own family’” (lines 752-755). The honor Beowulf contains has saved his nation. As a mortal man, he helps many escape the wraths of monsters and live in riches, and does it all without completing a task, which is not noble.
Overall, the mighty warrior, Beowulf, performs many actions which cannot be performed by any other men and which determine the future circumstances of many. When faced with a challenge, the warrior takes it on without issue. On behalf of the men whom he journeys with, Beowulf will do anything. Accurately, he fits every ancient aspect of a hero, in existence. Without a doubt, Beowulf has the capacity of many strong men together.