Beowulf hero in this time. Beowulf established the

the Anglo-Saxon Hero

            Originating in the Anglo-Saxon period, the poem Beowulf
pictures a legendary hero. The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic tribe who had their
own language and culture. They believed that a hero needed strength, and a good
physical appearance. You had to be a warrior to be a hero in this time. Beowulf
established the perfect form of heroism, then later was translated into the
English culture. Praised and admired by everyone he met, Beowulf possesses many
distinct traits that shows that he is the ideal Anglo-Saxon hero. He was very
humble, seeking glory and fame, rather than riches and money. The Anglo-Saxons
believed an ideal hero does this seek glory and fame. Beowulf held these
requirements, he was a very strong man having the strength of thirty men,
displaying this strength over and over. Beowulf stood out more compared to
other warriors at this time. He was loyal, humble, and honest to everyone.
Therefore, the Anglo-Saxon hero is obviously displayed within Beowulf. He had
confidence, strength, courage, and faithfulness these characteristics helped
him become the hero that he has lived up to be.

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            So, who is Beowulf? Beowulf is the Geatish prince who becomes
the Geats king and rules until his death. He comes over to Heorot hearing of a monster
terrorizing the town. This monster is named Grendel. He comes every night and kills
people at King’s hall. Once he kills him, Grendel’s mother looks for revenge and
Beowulf are ready for the battle. He finds her and slays her in her underwater lair.
Only one man could kill her, and that person was Beowulf because of his mighty strength.
Beowulf soon becomes the king and rules for fifty years. Then is tasked with another
mighty challenge. Killing a ramping dragon that he had created, and he must destroy.
This is Beowulf’s last battle after killing the dragon, he gets a fatal wound that
would the reign of this great hero. Beowulf is a great man that many people consider
a hero including myself. Holding all the characteristics that the Anglo-Saxons look
for in a hero. He was a humble and kind man just trying to protect his people from
the evil that had been terrorizing their land for years.   

            Beowulf was very faithful to his lord and fighting for
him. King Hrothgar was the king of Heorot, Beowulf’s dad was really close to
the king. The king loved Beowulf so much he considered him to be his son,
although Beowulf did not express his emotions very much about him. He possessed
unfaltering loyalty to the king and his allies. His strength is unmatched being
able to defeat all his opponents and perform feats of unmatched strength. So,
King Hrothgar needed a hero to fight Grendel, Beowulf was the only brave one to
step up and offer to take this task. People don’t know if Beowulf did this
because he was loyal to the king, or because his strength was unmatched. “Beowulf
knows that his power and strengths are unconquerable, he feels that it is his
role in the Anglo-Saxon society to server and protect the Danes and his lord. In
other words, heros go beyond their comitatus to their own lord and help other
countries or anyone in need.” (citation). Beowulf’s power can not be matched by
any other warrior at this time. Knowing this he decides to take on this task so
no one else would die from battle. Also, he wants to protect Heorot from
anymore killings from Grendel. By doing this he is showing his faithfulness to
King Hrothgar. When the king begins to grow old, he offers the throne to
Beowulf. Since Beowulf is honest and loyal, he declines the offer so that the
king’s son could take the throne instead. Many people could not compete with
this kind of honestly and loyalty, so this is one reason why Beowulf stood out
over the other warriors.  

            Anglo-Saxon’s believed that a true hero possessed courage
when going into a fighting knowing that you’re going to come out victorious.
Courage is being able to face something that is difficult, dangerous, and painful
without any fear. Beowulf’s courage was motivated through his own will. Beowulf
had courage through-out his entire life from his fight with Grendel, to his
final fight with the dragon. He was so confident that he would kill Grendel, he
went to fight him without a sword. Just his bare hands would be good enough for
him to slay this monster. He ended up completing this task and bringing back
the head of Grendel to show the whole town what he had done for them. In this
battle with Grendel’s mother knowing that she was looking for revenge for her
only child did not stop this warrior. Killing Grendel’s mother took the
strength only Beowulf possessed, wielding a sword that everyone envied. He
swung it in an arc and struck in into her neck bone killing her. His last
battle with the dragon he did not believe that he would win the fight, but he
went in with all his strength to protect his people. Even though the dragon
took his life in this battle, he still managed to slay the dragon and save the
rest of the town’s people. “The veteran king sat down on the cliff-top. He
wished good luck to the Geats who had shared his hearth and his gold. He was
sad at heart, unsettled yet ready, sensing his death.” (Heaney lines 2417-2420).
This shows that he is willing to lay down his life even when he knows he’s not
strong enough to fight shows how much courage he had.

            Being humble and displaying the proper attitude, are more
characteristics that Anglo-Saxons look for in a hero. Beowulf displays this
after his fights with Grendel, and Grendel’s mother. He is exalted by the
Danes, but he refuses to take kingship and returns back home, and gives away all
his treasures that he has earned. Being humble by not accepting a reward for
his heroic act. Also, Beowulf shows the attitude of death being a common goal
it seems. He goes and fights Grendel without a sword, fights Grendel’s mother
in a cave, and fighting a dragon at such an old age. The Anglo-Saxons believed
that death for a warrior is honorable. A hero must be willing to die in battle
to achieve glory. Beowulf must show courage in the face of overwhelming or
nearly impossible odds, and he must have the strength to back up his courage. Knowing
this Beowulf throws himself into every battle he can get into, especially when
he is older going into fight the dragon. He senses his death is coming but he
is doing this for his people. Beowulf shows he has the attitude to be this hero
that the Anglo-Saxons have pictured, also being humble while doing all this

            Over the course of Beowulf’s life, he starts maturing
into a man that makes a huge impact on people. He matures from a valiant
warrior to a great leader. This transition shows that a differing set of values
accompanies each of these roles. When Beowulf was younger, he had nothing to
lose, just wanting to protect his people. When he starts growing older, he
realizes that he is becoming this great leader that people look up too and
admire. Knowing this he knows that if he loses his life in battle, then the
people would have no one to lead them. In his last battle with the dragon, the
Geats realize they might lose their king here. If Beowulf dies, they know their
kingdom would be vulnerable to attack by other kingdoms. Yet Beowulf demonstrates
the sort of restraint known to kings when, earlier in his life he declines the throne
that the king offered him. He knew it was not his time to rule so he simply declined
it, and instead protected the small kingdom on his own. Over time he finally got
to the throne, but it was not because he used force. Instead he waited till it was
his turn to sit at the throne and rule the people.  

actions, from fighting monsters to behaving morally, clearly show his values
and prove his heroism. He displays all the characteristics of a hero: he is
bold, strong, fearless, loyal, and shows no pain. Therefore, Beowulf is the
ideal hero in the Anglo-Saxon society. Although today the term hero differs
from generation to generation. But heroes are still admired for their brave
actions, great deeds, or noble qualities. Beowulf accomplished lots of fearless
deeds, but these deeds are not necessarily needed to be called a hero today. A
child can look up to his dad to be his hero. Jackie Robinson can be considered
a hero for being the first African American to play professional baseball, opening
the door for more African Americans to play. The Anglo-Saxons had a specific
model to follow for someone to be considered a hero. Compared to today were
being a hero is more broadly looked upon. Which makes Beowulf the perfect
Anglo-Saxon hero. 


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