An Analysis of Beowulf as an Epic Hero.
Is fame or glory the only significance in life? During the Anglo-Saxon period, it is common to seek fame because it is alleged to be the utmost accomplishment possible for someone. Fame means that immortality could be attained and that is extremely important. In the poem Beowulf, the character Beowulf illustrates an ideal example of the desire to achieve fame. Beowulf is a young adventurer eager for fame and is also classified as an epic hero. An epic hero is someone who is on a quest, risks his or her life for glory or fame, and embodies the ideals or values of his or her culture. Clearly Beowulf possesses all of these essentials of an epic hero throughout the poem.
One of the essentials that Beowulf possesses is the unquenchable desire for a quest. Beowulf is measured as an immense quest seeker by rapidly taking the initiative to accept the first mission to kill Grendel just by "[hearing] how Grendel filled the nights with horror- (112). Grendel is a horrifying bayou creature of massive size that goes around slaying people from Herot. In spite of hearing Grendel's appearance and actions, it does not intimidate Beowulf because the challenge is graciously accepted. Another instance is when Beowulf completes the first of the battles, by killing Grendel, and celebrating the victory with Hrothgar and his host. That night, Grendel's mother kidnaps and kills Hrothgar's close friend and the next day the king tells Beowulf where to find the two monsters:.
I've heard that my people, peasants working.
In the fields, have seen a pair of such fiends.
Wandering in the moors and marshes, giant.
Monsters living in those desert lands.
And they've said to my wise men that, as well as they could see,.
One of the devils was a female creature. (411-416).
Immediately, after hearing about the events that occurred, Beowulf swiftly reacts to the situation by accepting an additional quest.