A hero can mean a variety of different things, such as a person with great courage, or someone with great values. The definition of a hero has progressed over time and means different things to different people. As the Anglo-Saxon era ended and the Middle Ages began Epic Heroes were harder to find, for they were near perfect, and Romance Heroes emerged as the less-than-perfect savior, but both still strove to defeat evil.
An epic hero usually has superior strength and Beowulf defeats Grendel because “…nowhere on earth had [Grendel] met a man whose hands were harder…” meaning that he was stronger than any one else. Beowulf is also an epic hero because of the way he embodies the ideals of the Anglo-Saxon culture. He is ethical and his people glorify him. An epic hero must also venture on a quest. Beowulf does this when he goes out in search of Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, and then finally the dragon. An epic hero embodies the peak definition of a hero, when a hero was perfect and unbeatable.
As time progressed from the Anglo-Saxon era to the Middle Ages the denotation of a hero changed and the Romance Hero was born. Romance Heroes are a part of worlds that have magic and their births and deaths are usually mysterious. They still fight for the greater good, and although they do not have superior strength, they are still strong. Sir Gawain is a perfect example of a Romance Hero. Although he is fighting for the greater good, he is not perfect like Beowulf was. When Sir Gawain does not give the lord the green sash the lady had given him he makes a mistake, and it shows that he was not loyal. Sir Gawain was so ashamed of the mistake he made that he “…caught at the knots of the girdle and loosened them and fiercely flung the sash at the Green Knight.” Romance Heroes were still great fighters and still did the right thing, but occasionally they would stray, but they would learn from it as well.
Both Epic Heroes and Romance Heroes fight for their people. They serve to...