What Makes an Epic Hero?
In your opinion, what characteristics makes an epic hero in a story? Is it someone who can defeat many enemies? Or is it someone of great nobility? In the poem Beowulf, Beowulf is the obvious hero in this story. What makes him so great is his fear nothing attitude, as well as his nobility and leadership. He has many loyal men that would die for him, because he gives them something to live for, a better life style. So therefore this is what makes Beowulf one of the greatest hero s in literature.
To find courage in a person these days is hard to come by. A lot of people are afraid of various things, and to be fearless is quite an honorable characteristic in one s personality, although it could get you in to trouble now a days. Because of the rise in crime in the Twentieth Century, there are many things to fear such as getting mugged, robbed, raped, killed, or even just getting lost, but none of these compares to fighting gigantic sea-monsters and vicious beasts. Although these are fictional obstacles of great feats, they are still scary to think about. Imagine watching a monster eat your friends, and then come after you. Forward Grendel came, stepping nearer. Then he reached for Beowulf. Beowulf grasped his arm and sat up. The criminal knew he had not met in this middle-earth another with such a grip (ch. 4). At this point Grendel was afraid of who this man was. Just the courage not to run away, but to fight the beast, Beowulf proved himself to be a courageous man.
Another trait that comes with courage is being noble. To be noble, one has to take risks on his own behalf to save the suffrage of others, because he wants to. Beowulf had killed many monsters before, but this was for his own safety, like the one s he fought in the sea. But Grendel was a monster that was eating his men and Beowulf was not taking that too well. ” We have done this work of valor against the strength of an uncanny foe. I wish you might have seen this enemy killed in his gear. I planned to bind him quickly to his deathbed with hand grips. I thought I could pin him down struggling for life without his body’s escape… (Ch. 5). Beowulf had planned to do away with this evil beast, yet he got away but he does not plan to stop here.
With everything Beowulf had accomplished, and everything he has succeeded in, he could not have done any of it with out becoming a leader. A leader has to make decisions both for himself and whoever he is commanding. Without leadership skills, there was no way for Beowulf to become the hero that he was. The mighty one arose,
surrounded by warriors, a mighty band of men. Some remained with the weapons, as the brave one ordered… (Ch. 3). Beowulf had a band of mighty men, willing to die for their leader, and this in turn gave Beowulf much power, which also gave him more confidence, which helped his courage to finish off the ravenous beast they call Grendel .
With everything Beowulf had in his personality traits, he still could not ignore the fact that he was only human, that is why he had the ability to die. But dying as a noble person, as a leader, and a courageous man is what made Beowulf the hero that he was. Dying for the well being of his fellow warriors made him not only a hero, but an excellent meal for big momma Grendel.