Carmela Patriz Lagahit
September 24, 2012
“A Hero is a man who is afraid to run away” – English Proverb. In the epic poem Beowulf by the Beowulf Poet, the protagonist named Beowulf, illustrates the characteristics of a true epic hero by going on a long journey to slay a supernatural being. He also correctly emulates an epic hero by executing daring and courageous deeds that reflect the value of an era. Lastly, by performing actions that determine the fate of several nations. By being a monster executioner, courageous warrior and exquisite king, Beowulf achieves all that he sets out to do, and eternal fame and glory shall forever be engraved in his name.
Due to the extraordinary things the king of the Danes hears about Beowulf, Hrothgar summons the great warrior to help his kingdom get rid of the monster that is causing afflictions to the people. Beowulf accepts the given task to defeat the infamous monster that is taking over Herot’s hall, and eager to prove himself “[Beowulf] quickly commanded a boat fitted out…would sail across the sea to Hrothgar” (line 113-115). Like any epic hero, Beowulf goes on a pilgrimage journey to a foreign land. Leaving his own people, the brave warrior takes his chances to expand his fame in a different kingdom. In doing so, he is also repaying a debt his father owes to Hrothgar. Beowulf arrives in Hrothgar’s kingdom and gives the king a full account of his strength, declaring that his people, “’have watched me rise from the darkness of war,/dripping with my enemies; blood. I drove/five great giants into chains…’” (line 152-154). Bragging about his power, he states how positive he is in his ability to kill the supernatural creature lurking in the mead halls. He makes sure that the king knows that there is nothing that will complicate this battle.
Both fearless and determined, Beowulf fights Grendel, who becomes the first monster he slays in the poem. Beowulf, being the arrogant and young warrior that he is, fights the monster without weapons, saying “’my hands alone shall fight for me…’” (line 172-173). Courageously, Beowulf trusts himself enough to fight with his bare hands. It seems superhuman to fight a monster without any help from any weapons. Knowing that the monster has sharp talons, he proceeds with caution yet without fear. In his last battle he gives everything he has left, “for the first time in his life the famous prince/Fought with fate against him…he knew it, but raised his sword” (line 668-669). Knowing that the battle is not going to go as planned; he bravely continues to fight because to him it is important to defeat the evil, whether or not it means losing his life. Beowulf is gorged with so much pride that he cannot swallow it instead to save himself from