The epic heroic poem of “Beowulf” is the oldest manuscript that is still being read. This 3183 lines poem has raised the national epic status in England. This story is about an Anglo Saxon hero named Beowulf, a courageous, strong and protagonist of this epic, that has to battle with three different monsters that are: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon, in order to defend the people that needed his help. Grendel is depicted as a huge, strong, and horrible monster that everybody is afraid of.
Grendel’s mother is characterized as a strong, swamp hag that desires revenge from Beowulf due to the death of her son. Finally the dragon is described as a greedy, huge, fire breathing flying dragon that undergoes with Beowulf his final epic battle. Throughout the story Beowulf is set into various and difficult situations; however he overcomes each one of them demonstrating various characteristics that relates him with the ideal Anglo Saxon hero, such as being strong, courageous and intelligent.
To begin with, one of the characteristics that Beowulf portrays and relates him to an Anglo Saxon hero is the courage he has. This characteristic plays an important role on how he acts all throughout the heroic poem. Even though his opponents were sometimes bigger, stronger or could fly and breathe fire he never backs out from any fight. He didn’t care that he could die in one of his battles as he once said, “…And if death does take me, send the hammered/ mail of my armor to Higlac, return/ the inheritance I had from Hrethel, and he/ from Wayland. Fate will unwind as it must! (55 Lines 265-270) This quote can clearly tell how courageous Beowulf is; he knew that at some time his life would be taken away in one of his battles, but that did not impede him from battling with his ferocious adversaries. He had only one objective and that was to defeat his opponents so he could defend the people who were being oppressed by them or die trying. This characteristic is essential in any hero that have existed because without courage all their motivation of doing what they can do to help the most needed would be deteriorated by their lack of courage.
Also this courage that he expresses helps him be respected, loved, and praised by many people. This is a great source of inspiration for his great courage because it motivates him to fight for the people who love him, for what he does for them. As a result, a perfect example of an Anglo Saxon hero must portray a courageous trait and with the previous discussion it can be seen that Beowulf definitely fulfills this requirement. Secondly, another characteristic that best identifies Beowulf in becoming an Anglo Saxon hero is his intelligence.
Thanks to his intelligence he is able to defeat his enemies in a more efficient way. His intelligence was an important factor in the time of his battles; this was because it helped him defeat the monsters who excelled him in almost every aspect. A great example of his use of intelligence at the time of his confrontations is when he defeats the huge monster named as Grendel. He uses the monster’s own force in order to defeat him. As the book describes “…Grendel/ saw that his strength was deserting him, his claws/ bound fast, Higlac’s brave follower tearing/ his hands. (58 Lines 370-373) These lines describe how Beowulf defeats Grendel. It was clever from Beowulf to perform this action in order to defeat the monster because the beast being so big couldn’t be harmed by Beowulf’s own sword so he had to decide to use the biggest weapon that he could obtain which were in this case Grendel’s own lethal claws. And not only he proved his intelligence during his battle with Grendel he also demonstrated it when he was planning to attack the beastly dragon who was tormenting the lives of Beowulf’s people.
He asked for a battle shield made of iron because he knew that a wooden shield would not serve him well as an iron one due to the fire that the dragon may use to attack him. (67) This demonstrates Beowulf’s strategic intelligence that helped him make plans before confronting his adversary. And in fact it did help him at first to use that iron shield until it melted. Beowulf’s intelligence may be one of his most relevant and important characteristic that he displays over the story.
In final analysis, it can be seen how Beowulf contributes his trait of being a smart warrior to the poem which makes him become closer of being the perfect example of an Anglo Saxon hero. Thirdly, the last but not least most relevant characteristic that exemplifies Beowulf as an Anglo Saxon hero is his strength. A person doesn’t need to be strong in order to become a hero, however it is one of the most essential characteristics that a person or character needs in order to become an Anglo Saxon hero.
Beowulf is benefited greatly for his strength when he battled each monster including Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. If it wasn’t for his strength he would probably had lost in any of the battles where he participated on. A great example of how Beowulf uses his strength to defeat his opponent is when he battles Grendel’s mother. As the author describes when he saw a “…heavy/ sword hammered by giants, strong/ and blessed with their magic, the best of all weapons/ but so massive that no ordinary man could lift/ It’s carved and decorated length. (61 Lines 485-489). Even though the sword weighted this much, Beowulf with his mighty strength was able to lift it way over up his head and then struck it over Grendel’s mother neck. (61) This lines support the fact that Beowulf had a powerful strength because it clearly explains that no normal man could lift this sword, so in order for him to raise a weapon with such load, he had to have a greater strength than any other men. Another example than can prove that Beowulf is a strong warrior is when he fought against the dragon.
At one point of the battle he was weakened by the dragon’s fire, here the author describes a moment of recovery from Beowulf “…lifted what was left /of Nagling, his ancient sword, and swung it/ with all his strength, smashed the gray/ blade into the beast’s head” (72 Lines 901-904). This stroke was so powerful that his blade broke when it impacted the dragon’s head. Even though this was inefficient he clearly demonstrates how with his great strength he was able to recover and then perform such attack that would even break his sword into pieces.
As a result, with the previous analysis it can clearly be seen how Beowulf accomplish his role of becoming an Anglo Saxon hero with his extraordinary strength. In conclusion, an Anglo Saxon hero must portray three basic characteristics: strength, intelligence and courage. Beowulf can be the perfect example of an Anglo Saxon hero because throughout the story he proves it by demonstrating the three heroic traits while confronting each situation that was implied on him.
One good thing about his accomplishments is that he remains humble until the end. Even though it’s not a requisite for becoming an Anglo Saxon hero, it is an honorable trait in a hero. In final consideration, Beowulf can be depicted as an Anglo Saxon hero thanks to his actions that prove him to be such hero. Work Cited “Beowulf. ” Adventures in Literature. Eds. Fannier Safier, et al. 4th ed. Orlando: Holt, Reinhart, and Winston, 1996. 12-29. View as multi-pages