Beowulf: A True Epic Hero
An epic hero in literature is a character who is larger than life. Modern day heroes are constantly threatened by death, but they never die, such as the Hulk or Superman. Another type of hero is a merely athletically inclined individual, like Alex Rodriguez. The epic hero has many characteristics that stand out such as: bravery, loyalty, and heroism. Beowulf is the universal story of man's journey from youth to adulthood to old age and the growth in wisdom about self and the world gained through the pain and triumph of experience.
For instance, at Beowulf’s first arrival at Herot he is a young warrior and he wants to get his point across that he is a magnificent warrior. In order to do this he boasts with his stories and accomplishments. He states that the witon of the Geats gave seen his great strength when he “drove five great giants into chains, chased all of that race from the earth.” He assures Hrothgar that Grendel is no match for him and does not even need weapons. Beowulf also wears his mailshirt, which is very rare during the Anglo-Saxon era and means he is an extravagant warrior. Everything about Beowulf including his actions, words, and even what he wears stands out amongst others.
Next, Beowulf’s battle against Grendel is a step towards becoming a true epic hero. Beowulf fought Grendel, the guardian of crime himself, with his two bare hands. The significance of using only his hands battling Grendel is emphasized by the fact that when his Geats try to assist him it is pointless since: “The sharpest and hardest iron could not scratch at his skin.” Beowulf rips off his shoulder during battleand offers it to the heavens. Beowulf has reached the status of becoming a hero and is now on his way to becoming an epic hero.
Afterwards, Beowulf is asked by Hrothgar to defeat Grendel’s mother, the ketta. This his next leap into becoming a larger than life character. Beowulf dove into that lake and “for hours he sank...