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Stephen Nardi III

Mrs. Keolm/Mrs. Baily

English Literature

14 September 2007

Beowulf and heroic qualities

Beowulf, a hero from an Anglo-Saxon epic, surpassed many feats. He had shown great

strength and had created many morals. Beowulf had many traits to prove his heroism. Bravery,

strength, conquering evil, loyalty, honor, and self-confidence, all features of a hero that reader’s

today lack.

Beowulf and his heroic treats are frequently shown through the epic tale. From the

beginning these traits can be seen. Such as bravery in lines 109-124 it states how he is from a

land of Geats and from hearing stories of the Danish king’s, Hrothgar, troubles, he decided to go

take care of the foul creature, disturbing the land. Beowulf put off a display of his heroic strength

in lines 385-395 as he battled Grendel bear handed and took a claw as his own. He displays this

yet again in the battle with Grendel’s mother on lines 535-542 decapitating the evil fiend. In both

these battles he comes out victorious another heroic trait of conquering evil.

Once more since Beowulf had such appeal he had many loyal followers and displayed

loyalty to them and his king as well. Examples of these traits are in lines 575-577, the Geats

awaited the arrival of Beowulf from the lake, and lines 280-284, where Beowulf asked for his

mail and inheritance to be sent back to his king. Warriors such as Beowulf were honored.

Beowulf, with all his successes, returned to his homeland were he was later honored the right of
king (p. 54 summary).

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Fame, strength, bravery, loyalty, and honor are all great traits Beowulf had shown through out his

life in the epic. However, his biggest heroic feature was that of his self-confidence. This trait

alas, brought Beowulf to his end when he decided he was the only one that could defeat the

mighty dragon. These examples are located in lines 640-649, Beowulf stated he is the only one to

defeat the dragon, and lines 685-691, Beowulf’s weapons fail him and he realized his end;

however, continued the battle.

All the evidence proved Beowulf’s heroism, but the reader can learn from his success and

heroism. In our world we are short of heroes. Evil and greed are overwhelming the lives of

people and taking over. However, if more people take a look at these heroic traits and learn from

them we can make a difference for the greater good. One thing readers can learn is the bravery

trait. Learn to be brave to fight their battles, instead of cowering and hiding. Beowulf gained

much respect form his bravery. Readers can also learn loyalty. Readers should know where their

trust lies and who they stand by. Beowulf stood by his men and king and was highly respected

and looked up to. Being loyal will bring many friends and their respect as well.

Another trait readers should learn is that of strength. Maybe not physical, but emotional

as well. Stay firm and strong in your decisions and in your choices. Beowulf may have been

physically strong, but he was also strong in his decisions his mind was always set. Readers

should learn to always have a self-confidence. That does not mean that the reader should be

cocky but they should learn to believe in themselves and trust themselves as well. Beowulf was

self-confidant and succeeded greatly for it; however, at old age he got cocky and greedy bringing

an end to his life. Resisting the evils in this world should be learned as well. Go against the evil
don’t embrace it. This doesn’t mean to go into a full force battle because that could be dangerous

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but slowly make changes for the better. Beowulf resisted the evil of Grendel and Grendel’s

mother bringing peace to the Danish people.

Finally, With these traits put together the reader can learn what it is to be a

real hero and gain the trait of fame or good reputation. Because people with the traits of a hero

are looked up to and are soon given good reputations in the eyes of the other people. Beowulf

had a great reputation which eventually lead him to being king and having a giant tower built in

his name.

Heroism didn’t end centuries ago it was just forgotten. However, knowing the traits of

Beowulf and understanding heroism can lead the reader to want to show these traits too. Beowulf

made a difference in his life and with others now its time for those in our era who read about him

to make the difference and defeat the evils threatening those around us.