“And many men stated that south or

“And many men stated that south or north, / over all the world between the seas, / or under the heaven, no hero was greater” is how scops sang about Beowulf, the hero in the the epic Beowulf (670-672). The title-character is brave and loyal to his king. He embodies the characteristics of an epic hero as he is a polished speaker, takes perilous journeys, and undertakes tasks no one else would attempt. The first characteristic Beowulf displays is polished speaking. For instance, when they approach the coast guard of the Danes, Beowulf makes it seem as if he is there to help them and not that they need him. He says he has heard of the “grisly horror and fiendish hate, / is spreading unheard-of havoc and death., / Mayhap I can counsel the good old king” (202-204). Beowulf’s offer is meant to seem non-threatening, and it is as the guard lets them pass. Next, Beowulf speaks to King Hrothgar. “I beg one favor-refuse me not . . . /that I may alone with my loyal earls, / With this hardy company, cleanse Hart-Hall” (333-336). Beowulf is leaving the decision up to King Hrothgar so that the King don’t feel as if he is being ambushed by Beowulf and his men. Beowulf speaking to King Hrothgar in this manner is to show that Beowulf is not there to make the king feel powerless but that he is still able to take care of his land and people. Beowulf also speaks of avenging a friend when one of King Hrothgar’s men is killed by Grendel’s mother. “Sorrow not, brave one! Better for man,/ to avenge a friend than much mourn.,/ all men must die;let him who may,/win glory ere death”(896-899). Beowulf gives this speech to comfort King Hrothgar about the death of his warrior Æschere that they will not mourn his death but rather go and avenge his death. “Up sprang the ancient, gave thanks to god./ for the heartening words the hero had spoken” King Hrothgar  acknowledges Beowulf for his kind words and give thanks knowing that grendel’s mother would be taken care of (909-910).  Another trait that make Beowulf an epic hero is his ability to take  perilous journeys. Beowulf had heard about the horror of the monster known as Grendel was introducing. He knew that he had to set out to save the Danes. Grendel  had been hunting the mead-hall for twelve years now and Beowulf wanted to keep the geats from terror. “Brave was the band he had gathered about him, / fourteen stalwarts seasoned and bold, / seeking the shore where the ship lay waiting” Beowulf collected his greatest warriors and crossed the ocean knowing that it was dangerous to do so at this time (141-143). After Beowulf defeats Grendel he is faced with another journey to the underworld to face and defeat Grendel’s mother. “Ere ever he’ll plunge in that hunted pool” (883). It takes Beowulf all day for him to reach the bottom of the mere to face Grendel’s mother. Beowulf is then faced with another journey to face the fire-dragon who seeks revenge on Geatland for stealing his golden cup. Beowulf knows his fate is death when taking the journey to slay the dragon but continues on defending his kingdom. “the Geat Lord went to gaze on the dragon. / Full well he knew how the feud arose” (1454-1455). One more characteristic that makes Beowulf an epic hero is his ability to undertake tasks no one else would attempt. Beowulf demonstrates this when he goes to fight Grendel for it’s been twelve years and Grendel is still terrorizing the people of Denmark. “Sinews snapped and bone-joints broke, / and Beowulf gained glory of the battle” (631-632). King Hrothgar and the Danes gave thanks to Beowulf for defeating Grendel. Beowulf then again becomes the hero for the Danes when Grendel’s mother seeks revenge for the death of her son. “The stout blade stabbed through her fated flesh. / and she sank in death” (1056-1057). Beowulf goes down and slays Grendel’s mother in her lair that no one else dared to travel to. Beowulf then undertakes another task of slaughters the dragon who seeks revenge on the Geats by inflaming the village. “No sons of warriors aided him then / by valor in battle. They fled to the forest / to save their lives” (1556-1558). Beowulf is left alone to slay the dragon in his old age, 50 years after he saves the Danes. Beowulf defeats the dragon with the assistance of one of the twelve warriors he brings with him to battle. Beowulf is then bitten by the dragon, and cuts the dragon’s neck and kills it after a difficult battle. For all that Beowulf displays the characteristics of an epic hero for he is a polished speaker, takes treacherous journeys, and undergoes tasks no one else would dare to attempt. Though his speeches to the people, and his journey to Daneland, Grendel’s lair, and to slay the dragon, also his battle with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon.     

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