In any book or movie you read you’ll notice that they all have one single thing in common, they always include a hero in the story. No matter what the story is about, someone has to always end up being a hero or a “good person” at the end of the movie or book. We all have our different view on a what a hero is and it definitely has changed through the evolution of society and how we judge things. When reading the novel Beowulf you get the sense that a hero is courageous, strong, and would be willing to do anything to protect and provide for their land and people. The intention of this essay is to argue that Beowulf is the definition of what a hero should be. He remained loyal, he continued to be brave, and he had courage throughout the entire story.
In lines 301-490, Beowulf shows his highlights of loyalty when he sailed all the way over to Geatland for King Hrothgar jus to repay the debt of saving his father in the years before him. Beowulf was so intact to being a hero and believing in having all the characteristics of one that he pledge to Hrothgar to fight in a battle because he wanted to remain loyal to him. Hrothgar was someone that was important to Beowulf and he played a role in helping him become the hero he became. Beowulf goes to kill Grendel with his bare hands and finishes the deed that pays his debt off to the king in lines 710-835, this gave him major street credit and publicity great and far. One couldn’t help but notice that Beowulf never really wanted anything in return for the battles he fought, all he cared about was fame and being remembered by his people, he went through battles to boost his fame and to later be remembered as a hero.
The most important characteristic of a hero is to be brave. In all three of his battles, he displays how much bravery he really has. Grendel was feared by every single individual that lived in Geatland, and he has killed and devoured on many man before Beowulf came into the picture. He continues to present no fear about the knowledge he has received. One brave thing that stuck out significantly was that he told everyone that was willing to help him in the battle that he would not use any type of sword or knife in the fight because Grendel doesn’t use any weapons. Beowulf tells them about his decision to make the fight fair only for his personal reasons. Beowulf could have been thinking about his fame becoming at large and how he’d be remembered if he were to die in the battle. Still the thought of going head to head with the “big bad wolf” that everyone seemed to fear with no weapons, and almost no major help from anyone else was an enormous act of bravery.
The battle between Beowulf and Grendel\’s mother gives off a courageous characteristic. When Beowulf went on his quest to meet the mother at her lake home he noticed that the lake was surrounded with unknown creatures, yet he shows no fear nor hesitation and continues to make his way into the lake to fight the mother and later cut her head off. Beowulf grows to become an old warrior and king for many years and still continues to have courage in whatever he does. During the time of him being king, a dragon comes and attacks his land. Beowulf being the man he is takes it upon himself to take a trip to the dragon’s cave with the mindset of killing it. Everyone knows the stories about noone entering and leaving the cave alive, but yet courage took over Beowulf’s body, mind, and soul, and lead him and his followers to the cave and him to his doom. Even though he ended up losing his life it still resembled an act of courage.
Beowulf helped in the killing of the dragon and in the end gave his life just so his people can be safe and sound and live a dragonless life. The fact that he ending up losing his life to the dragon does not make him any less of a hero, he showed and lived by the characteristics of an amazing hero, to be loyal, have courage, and remain brave. He never asked to become a king, but with being a king comes the responsibility of protecting your people and your land by any means necessary. With that being said, Beowulf never fully took on the role of a king for too long but when it came to being a hero he did any and everything possible to portray a great one. Everything he did was for a cause that benefitted himself and the people that were loyal to him and the people he was loyal to.