Epic Beowulf A hero, in the traditional sense of the word, is generally a protagonist in a story whose overwhelming power is the only which can defeat the evil of the day. In a classic example of this comes Beowulf, a novel adaptation of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem by Robert Nye. The main character and namesake of the story is Beowulf, an adventurous young hero. When he hears the tales of the monster Grendel that terrorizes the Danish kingdom, he immediately has the urge to lend his assistance to the situation, knowing that he is the only one who can defeat the evil. Not only is Beowulf a hero, he is an epic hero. An epic hero, by definition, is identified by the following characteristics: 1.
A hero of noble birth, sometimes semi-divine or super human. 2. Involved in a grand struggle (public or related to society).
Struggle concerns eternal human problems.
3. Exhibits the universal values of loyalty, bravery, generosity, fairness. 4. Possibly exiled from homeland: does heroic exploits in another land. 5.
Foil is usually a king weakened by a flaw (old age, fear, etc. ) which leaves king open to being over-taken by the hero. 6. Hero has a following of his own (group loyal to him), yet he is strictly loyal to his leader.
Beowulf’s epic heroism is defined by his involvement in the grand struggle between good and evil. Beowulf’s battle with Grendel is a classic example of this. Beowulf is the stereotypical embodiment of the “good guy.” He rides a white horse, he always finds the silver lining in a situation, and he never seems to lose. Grendel also fits his mold a little too well. He is made up of a vile black substance, he lives in a swamp, and he represents all things that are considered wrong. All characters and situations of this story are almost a little too cartoonish and impossible to be considered anything but a retelling of the classic “good guy versus bad guy” story with a new cast of characters.
“Once upon a time…” that is how many childhood stories begin. However, Voice is a different type of story. It does not tell of pretty princesses or fairy godmothers, but instead of a girl who can sing rhythms and songs never heard before. Stories that are told to my generation are ones that have been around for a long time about superheroes being the good guy and always being there for crime. ...
Beowulf’s group of associates also help to define him as an epic hero. When he comes to the land of Denmark, he is followed by fourteen of his loyal men, yet he only feels loyalty and devotion toward his king, On ela. Beowulf’s comitatus is common in nearly all epic heroes and showcases his devotion and loyalty even more. Beowulf giving up the treasures bestowed upon him by Hrothgar shows both his devotion to his king and his generosity, both classically defining traits in an epic hero. However, Beowulf does not exhibit all of the qualities of the epic hero. Beowulf’s tragic foil is not that of a disgraced king, but that of one of the king’s servants.
Unferth, a knight of King Hrothgar is swayed by evil power of Grendel and his mother. This evil inside, and possibly a bit of jealousy, caused Unferth to kill Aes chere, a thane to Hrothgar. This evil desire within Unferth ultimately brought about his end, being decapitated by Grendel’s Mother. Unferth being the flaw in the story differs than that of a traditional epic her story, and is one of the few points that does so. Beowulf overall was a highly skilled and highly intelligent warrior with little fear and an overpowering stench of goodness.
Beowulf’s ability to get himself out of situations by thinking positively and somehow inflicting fear on those around him gave him much admiration. Beowulf was I am sure an idol and role model to many, and a disappointment to none; as was this story in general.