Essay Beowulf and Epic Poem

Submitted By valiant14
Words: 424
Pages: 2

Jonathon Carroll
Mrs. Cristy Edwards
English Literature and Composition
June 6, 2013
What Makes a Hero Epic? What is a hero? What does it take to become a hero? It can be said that there are as many answers to these questions are there are heroes. The dictionary defines a hero as, “A person, typically a man, who is admired for courage or noble qualities”. Hero’s have long been the subject of many genres in literature. One of the most revered epic poems is Beowulf. But what makes this poem epic? In the Beowulf unit module from Georgia Virtual School an epic poem “must be a long narrative poem that possess elevated language, suggest a wide setting scope, achieve a legendary hero, and reinforce the cultures social values”. The poem Beowulf is most certainly long and in a narrative format. With that in mind let us review the remaining aspects of an epic poem. Elevated language in one of the key aspects in the definition of epic poetry. This means that the “notion and tone” of the poem is expansive and reflects an ambiance that is grand and daring. Beowulf takes place in faraway lands (“The swift current, the surging water carried me to the far off Land of the Lapps”.) and the main character (Beowulf) performs honorable deeds. In the poem he kills nine sea-beasts with his sword. He stated, “I returned from a fight when I destroyed five a family of giants”. This is evidence of his bravery. It tells a story in a rhythmic four beat caesuras. Other characteristics include the use of alliteration and kennings. Another aspect of the epic poem that is demonstrated in Beowulf is that the main