The Hero of the Anglo-Saxon Period
Beowulf shows what qualities an Anglo-Saxon hero must have and the most important characteristics would be strength and courage and you cannot have one without the other. A hero cannot fight with only strength because he will surely lose. A man can have courage, but what damage will you do if you're weak and cannot back yourself up. Although it doesnt only take strength and courage to be an Anglo-Saxon hero, it takes much more for example, humility, loyalty, tactful and intelligent. Humility is an important characteristic as it is proved in the text and showed by Beowulf, "The mildest of men and the gentlest, kindest to his people and most eager for fame." (Beowulf 52) That text shows and explains the perfect ideal Anglo-Saxon hero. Beowulf is an ideal model of an Anglo-Saxon hero. An Anglo-Saxon hero fights with pride, honorability, selflessness strength and courage, and that is exactly how Beowulf fought. He possess these heroic qualities in any actions or words he uses, because he wants the same outcome in everything he does, which is fame. He is known also for his courtesy, but most of all, every Anglo-Saxon hero wants fame. Pride and boastfulness are more characteristics an Anglo-Saxon hero possess. An Anglo-Saxon hero and boast all they want but they always need to back themselves up by actually doing it or have already done it. Other men will not take another hero seriously if they're all talk, that's pretty much how it is everywhere at anytime. If a person is all talk, nobody will ever believe them or trust them with anything. "Beowulf recounts some of his past glories and offers to fight Grendel unarmed. " (Beowulf 301-709) In that text, Beowulf is boasting about his many different battles that he has been in without using any kind of weapon. After all, Beowulf does have the strength of thirty men in just on arm. Beowulf is basically allowed to boast because he can back it up with his strength, humility and courage. Beowulf defeats many monsters in his lifetime, but the three main monsters he is well known for among the Danes is Grendel, a giant that is feared by all except of course, Beowulf, The Troll Wife, which is Grendel's Mother,and the Dragon. Beowulf is extremely selfless, so when he fought these monsters and defeated them, it wasn't so much for himself, but for the god of his people and to protect them from harm.
Grendel is a giant monster that is pretty intelligent and temperamental. He doesn't necessarily fight like an Anglo-Saxon. Grendel fights because he is impulsive and mostly jealous. As much as Grendel does not want to be, he is viewed as an outsider and is not accepted among the humans for a very large obvious reason. He is not a human himself, but a nasty and violent beast. Grendel does have human like emotions for example his jealousy, loneliness, anger, abandonment and personal wants. He views the world in such an interested manner. He enjoys watching the humans and putting himself in their world as if to get reactions and notices that "the world follows a coherent, ordered system" (Sparknotes, Grendel) By many people, Grendel is portrayed as a monster because like is descendant Cain which committed fratricide, is the result of Cain's wrongdoings. Although Grendel had the strength of many he didn't have the second key factor, courage. He decides that the best time to attack people is during the nightfall when nobody expects it. He is too afraid to fight them in a battle during the day time, so he attacks them as they sleep in the mead hall. Grendel also did not pay his wergild (Beowulf, 116-119) This is not an Anglo-Saxon heroic quality because every hero ever made needs both courage and strength. Grendel seeks vengeance in the good of the world instead of seeking vengeance in the evil parts of the world. For example, when music plays or he hears good times being experienced, he is filled with dark hatred