Heroism displayed in the epic novel of BEOWULF and Sir Gawain. This essay compares and contrasts these two characters and defines what makes a true hero.

Essay by babydogg15High School, 10th gradeA, February 2004

download word file, 4 pages ( 6 KB ) 3.0

Beowulf was written in the eighth century by monks. The word Beowulf means bee-hunter. It was the first book ever written. The Norse tale is principally concerning the exploits of the warrior Beowulf of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf most definitely proves to be a hero in this epic for he is able to conquer his obstacles due to his super-human physical strength, determination and courage.

Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. In his argument with Unferth, Beowulf explains the reason he "lost" a simple swimming match with his youthful opponent Brecca. Not only had Beowulf been swimming for seven nights, he had also stopped to kill nine sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. Beowulf is also strong enough to kill the monster Grendel, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands by ripping off his arm.

When Beowulf is fighting Grendel's mother, who is seeking revenge on her son's death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster's neck with a Giant's sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he decapitates her, he carries her head from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot mead-hall. This strength is a key trait of Beowulf's heroism.

Another trait that Beowulf possess' is his determination. He went to the land of the Geats determined to free them of Grendel's evil grasp. His determination and fortitude drove him to complete the task he came to do. He then is compelled to completely end all grieving for the Geats by killing the maleficent...