Beowulf: The Hero’s Journey

Beowulf: The Hero’s Journey
An epic hero is defined as, “a brave and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or affected by grand events” (“epic-hero”). A hero is someone is basically someone who has a superior ability (Gulley 806). A hero is a man who takes action, who has natural instinct, who has honor, and who is not afraid of a challenge (806).
Beowulf has been defined as an epic hero since the story came to surface. This is due to his accurate characteristics of heroism. Some characteristics include courage, bravery, devotion, sophistication, and strength—all of which define an epic hero (Janjowski). Beowulf has all of these characteristics and has all of the requirements, even outside of that list, to accurately be named a hero. He has the strength of thirty men, he has the ability to swim in a cold sea for five nights, and he fights and defeats three powerful monsters that everyone is afraid of (Gulley 806). Not only does he have brawn—he has brains. A hero needs to be more than just a take action kind of guy. He needs to be clever, and needs the capability to face battles with confidence and strategy—not just muscle (Gulley 806).
According to Cascio, “a theme of parenthood also accompanies epic heroes.” In the poem Beowulf, King Hrothgar says, “I used to know him when he was a young boy. His father before him was called Ecgtheow. Hrethel the Geat gave Ecgtheow his daughter in marriage. This man is their son, here to follow up an old friendship…” (371–376). So, this gives the information that Beowulf is a relation to the Geats, because his mother was one. His father has connection to them from when he fled after he had killed another warrior (Classen 124). Although it is not know why nor how he killed the warrior, he found refuge with Hrothgar (124). This killing caused a threat of war, but Hrothgar paid a large amount of money to resolve the situation. This most likely had influence when he decided to help the Geats….

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