Essay, Research Paper: Beowulf Epic Story

Literature: Beowulf

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In the epic story of Beowulf, the hero is Beowulf. He shows physical strength in
the story by defeating Grendel. In line 219 of Grendel’s mother, it tells how
Beowulf killed her. “…cut it through, broke bones and all.” His strength
is also told in line 213 of how he “lifted the sword that was so massive that
no ordinary man could lift.” Beowulf’s determination, or his will to win,
was throughout the story, even up until his death. A quote that describes this
is, “…he cut the beast in half, slit it apart. It fell…”(line 185). He
shows courage along with his cousin, Wiglaf, when they defeat the fire dragon.
In line 189 it says, “…their courage had killed it, two noble cousins had
joined in the dragon’s death.” Beowulf also shows courage in all of his
battles. His intelligence is far above any others. He used the sword made by the
giants to kill Grendel’s mother. In lines 210-222, it describes how he was
quick and saw the sword “hammered by giants, strong and blessed with their
magic…and struck with all the strength he had left, caught her in the neck and
cut it through…” Beowulf was altruistic because he always put the needs of
others before his own. His whole reason for coming to Herot was to help the
people against Grendel. He even stayed to defeat Grendel’s mother and the fire
dragon. “My life was almost lost, fighting for it, struggling under water:
I’d have been dead at once, and the fight finished, if our Father in Heaven
had not helped me.” (Line 310). In the story, Beowulf is also a Tragic Hero.
He possesses goodness by telling the king of the Danes in lines 1-8 that he is
honored to be there helping them. Beowulf shows superiority in the story. “I
sold my life for this treasure, and I sold it well.” (Line 76). I believe that
his tragic flaw is that he was too sure of himself, and never brought the right
weapon to fight with. In line 113 it tells how his sword broke into bits after
striking the dragon. Beowulf’s tragic realization is that he knew that it was
his time, because he believed in the Lord. (Line 17-20). Beowulf is a folk epic
because it involves the five characteristics. First is the hero, which was
Beowulf, who is a figure of imposing stature. The setting covers vast nations,
which included Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Third is the action, which in this
case there are three, defeating Grendel and his mother, and the Fire dragon. The
other characters included Shild, Hrothgar, Grendel, Grendel’s mother, the Fire
dragon, and Wiglaf. The last characteristic is the poet. It is a recount of the
deeds of the hero with a measure of objectivity.
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