Posted at 10.04.2018
What is a hero. Straight described from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a hero is a mythological or famous number often of divine descent endowed with great power or ability. A great display of heroism and what it truly means to be considered a hero was captured in a long poem, Beowulf, that was close to being lost during a flames in 1731 in the Cotton Collection (Foster). Every one of the attributes in which a hero must have are possessed by Beowulf, such as loyalty, courage, and strength. Beowulf presents a journey of your warrior that changes himself into a unforgettable hero. The epic of Beowulf perfectly captured and paved the way for those heroes.
The first attribute to a good hero has been dedicated to the people around you, no matter the circumstance. In the beginning of the poem we start to see the first signals of devotion when Beowulf sails for land of the Danes. The family ties between that of Hrothgars' family and Beowulfs' will do for Beowulf to visit along with his men and associated risk his life to help (Foster). Not only does indeed this support and show how Beowulf was faithful but it shows us your brain set of how people thought in that time frame. These morals and beliefs which you get started to see in Beowulf also reflect a few of the ideas and values of Anglo-Saxons Great britain, the time period in which Beowulf is thought to be occur (Foster). Once he will come on the shoreline of Denmark he announces:
"We belong by delivery to the Geat people
And owe allegiance to Lord Hygelac.
In his day, my dad was a famous man,
a noble warrior-lord called Ecgtheow. (260-263)
Loyalty emerges again when Beowulf prepares to struggle Grendel, Edward Foster creates "Beowulf confronts that physical evil and, bolstered by lineage and devotion, routs the inimical force with which everyone must contend" (Foster). What Edward Foster is saying is, Beowulf must stay devoted to Hrothgar as well as protect his households' reputation; Beowulf must go through with his fight and beat Grendel. After Beowulf got defeated Grendel he talks to Horthgar in lines 1826-1829 expressing:
If ever I listen to from over the ocean
That people on your edges are intimidating battle
As attackers did from time to time,
I shall land with one thousand thanes within my back
This passage goes on showing Beowulf's' continued devotion to Hrothgar even after defeating Grendel and his mother. Jacqueline Vaught published in her criticism Beowulf: The Deal with at the Center, "In a poem so clearly concerned with social loyalty, the fact Beowulf is by itself when he gets into the mere is one of the most significant signals that his experinces there are central to this is of the poem" (Vaught). Hrothgar isn't really the only person in the poem where Beowulf swears commitment to. Richard Schrader wrote in his examination of Beowulf, "never indicating that he desires to take over and his stressing his devotion to Hygelac upon returning to his home. . . " (Schrader). Even towards end of his life, coincidentally towards the end of the poem, Beowulf shows loyalty to his people. When a thief steals the goblet guarded by the dragon it starts to terrorize the people of Geatland. In exchange Beowulf, much more aged now, suits up and places out to beat the dragon. The men with Beowulf refuse to go directly into deal with the dragon, all except one, whom shows devotion to his head. Loyalty, a repeating theme in this poem pushes the two men to beat the dragon at the trouble of Beowulf's life.
Another, characteristic that contributed to Beowulf's' heroism is his courage and insufficient fear. One instance where Beowulf exhibits his courage was during the going swimming match in lines 530-580. Not merely was he going swimming for five times and five times but during the race he decides to stop and battle sea monsters as explained in lines 559-5641:
"Time and again, bad things attacked me,
lurking and stalking, but I lashed out,
gave as effective as I acquired with my sword.
My flesh had not been for feasting on,
there would be no monsters gnawing and gloating
Over their banquet at the bottom of the ocean.
When is was time and energy to struggle Grendel, a descendent of Cain, Beowulf refused to wear armor or use any weapons because Grendel himself did not wear armor or have any weapons. The poem moves beyond belief to sell the idea that Beowulf was truly frightened of little or nothing even making him seem to be godlike in a way. When enough time comes to struggle Grendels' mother must split himself from culture to the cave where she lives in (Vaught). Essentially in his epic excitement in being the perfect hero, Beowulf needs to man up and become a monster himself (Vaught). The final function of courage displayed by Beowulf was when he was at his weakest, weakened by old age. With a bunch of cowardly men as defined in lines 2596-2601:
No help or support was to be had then
from his highborn comrades; that hand-picked troop
broke rates and ran for his or her lives
to the basic safety of the wood. But within one heart
sorrowed welled up: in a guy of worth
the cases of kinship cannot be denied.
No matter the scenario Beowulf, despite having the feeling of death among him, he went out on the goal to ruin the dragon terrorizing his people. He along, with Wiglaf, were the only two men with the courage to handle the dragon and kill it for their peoples protection.
The whole epic poem is a timeline of the development of a perfect hero. Each one of the three battles contributed to the creation of the perfect hero. When he first comes Beowulf is a conflict hardened warrior but nonetheless needs to show and make a name for him personal. Within the first struggle with Grendel, Jacqueline Vaught does indeed a congrats directing out "Beowulf will not fulfill his quest as the hero-precisely because he's still within contemporary society, basically inside the wall surfaces of Herot and the group of his men" (Vaught). What you can take from that is, although Beowulf wished to even the playing field per say by taking off his armor and struggling Grendel bare handed, he still experienced "home court gain" and still had all his men within Herot Hall. The real test came within the next great struggle of Beowulf's' against Grendels' mom where he had to endeavor to a fresh undiscovered and unidentified place. This is where you commence to see Beowulf expand as a hero and a identity because for the first time he is very challenged. His transformation here was put best by Vaught when she had written:
As he enters the mere, Beowulf makes his journey inward. Rapidly he discovers that neither modern culture nor even his own physical durability can help him in this interior battle. But when he stands, he also discovers the guts of himself, the effectiveness of his unyielding will. . . (Vaught)
Still though, Beowulf uses sword made by giants to defeat the monster. Taylor Culbert summed it up best when stating "Whereas the first two fights disclose Beowulf in the role of youthful warrior, the dragon attack exhibits his exemplary tendencies as an adult ruler" (Culbert). The very last dragon he defeats is where the perfect hero exists and at exactly the same time killed. It had been when Beowulf recognized he wasn't heading to make it yet willed himself onward to help beat the dragon that the perfect hero was made.
Family and lineage was an important factor when determining whether or not someone could be a hero in the Anglo-Saxon culture. Through the entire poem, before Beowulf would speak, it would refer to him as "Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow". This shows the importance of lineage and also other things. For instance following the watchmen, Wulfgar, told Hrothgar of Beowulf's lineage, Hrothgar delivers the reply:
"My lord, the conquering ruler of the Danes,
Bids me declare that he understands your ancestry;
Also that he welcomes you here to Herot
And salutes your arrival from across the sea. (391-394)
The hero in Anglo-Saxon culture is expected to bring about revenge honoring family and to show commitment (Foster).
Some may have a different view of Beowulf and may see him as an arrogant persona that only cares about glory. This is a valid point, but irrespective Beowulf place the people first and covered them during all his battles. During his combat with Grendels' mommy Beowolf experienced no audience to see him beat her, this implies that although he might value being appreciated, he cares more about his devotion to Hrothgar and his people. Another relative point can be made during the fight Grendel. During this attack the poet only regards Beowulfs perspective in four passages, as pointed out by Charles Moorman (Culbert). And yes it is fair to indicate that it was selfish of Beowulf to try and defeat the previous dragon when he was old of age. But if it were not going to be Beowulf to beat this dragon, who else could have? Clearly everybody else was scared of it as was described above through the passage in which all his cowardly men still left him to go in by itself with Wiglaf. The dragon could have continued to terrorize people and set in place villages on fire. It was a necessary sacrifice to go and perish for his people.
The qualities of commitment, courage and nobility all play key factors in to the development of a perfect hero in Beowulf. With this epic poem he takes a journey to undiscovered lands and displays these characteristics in lots of ways. He was dedicated to the Danes and helped them during a time where they lived in fear for their lives. He was courageous and didn't back off from any attack, even risking his life sometimes to provide his opposition a good fight. Beowulf proved to be a noble man and represent his lineage with great pleasure. The epic of Beowulf properly captured and paved the way for many heroes. As he was dying in the cave with Wiglaf by his aspect, Wiglaf refused to adopt Beowulf's treasures (Schrader). Being the only person of Beowulf's kinsmen to move in with him this man, Wiglaf, is set up to be another perfect hero. Beowulf became a legendary body and exhibited his capability of great strength many times, transforming himself into one of the biggest heroes of all time.