Beowulf is a hero like no other. He "...exemplifies the traits of the perfect hero (Sparknote 1). In the epic poem Beowulf, he battles with great monsters and slays fire breathing dragons. Beowulf portrays gentleness and mercy while maintaining authority and power. Many characteristics make up an epic hero; a few of these traits that Beowulf possesses are strength, ethics, and honor.
Beowulf's strength is unmatched by any man in the world. He contains both the physical power to overcome any beast and also the endurance to outlast any challenger to his might. Beowulf's physical power is shown through his grip and his ability to take pain. Grendel "...twisted in pain, and the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder snapped, muscle and bone split and broke (389-392) as Beowulf rips Grendel's shoulder off with his bare hands. Beowulf's pain tolerance is like that of no other; Grendel's mother "...ripped and tore and clawed at him (498-499), but Beowulf still defeats her in the end. Beowulf's strength is also exemplified through his endurance. Beowulf swims for a whole week with no rest, weighed down by a sword and his mail shirt. He also defeats ferocious sea monsters while managing to stay afloat. Beowulf's physical power and endurance portray the strength only a hero can possess.
Another characteristic that holds true for the archetype of the epic hero is a code of ethics. Beowulf displays his morals throughout the epic poem in several different ways. Beowulf has a strong belief that fate determines everything in life. However, he also believes that "...fate saves the living when they drive away death by themselves (305-306), meaning that fate will help those who first help themselves.. He takes this theory and uses it as his motto, doing everything he can to control his own destiny. Another admirable attribute of Beowulf ... Continue Reading