11 September 2014
What is a hero? A hero is defined as a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Beowulf is a perfect example of the archetype of a hero. The narrator states that "he was the mightiest man of valor," (17) which tells us that Beowulf was a great warrior. Beowulf exhibits all of the characteristics of a hero throughout the poem: loyalty, courage, bravery, strength, valor, and sacrifice. These characteristics are given to Beowulf by God himself. The poem is strongly influenced by Christianity with Christian morals and values, such as loyalty, being very important to the characters. Beowulf is a great example of a hero archetype with God-given gifts that he uses to defeat many evil beings and, although he is treated like a god, I feel that he still has flaws.
When we hear the word "hero" we tend to think of characters such as Superman, Batman, and Spiderman. These modern heroes usually have characteristics such as superhuman strength and endurance to the point that they are nearly invincible. Beowulf, although not a "modern hero," shares many of the same characteristics. Beowulf states in the poem, "I have proved more might in the sea than any other man, and more endurance in the ocean" (27). Beowulf is speaking of a time in his youth in which he stayed at sea for five nights fighting sea monsters. This story shows Beowulf's superhuman endurance. In his battle against Grendel Beowulf shows another example of superhuman strength. "Then the master of evil saw that he was in a man's grip, stronger than any he had ever met on the whole earth" (34). Beowulf shows his bravery by fighting the monster, Grendel,