Beowulf As A Hero In Beowulf and Grendel


English IV- 6thper


18 October 2001


Since the beginning of time, people have had heroes that they have admired, but only few extraordinary men and women actually have the opportunity to become true heroes. In Beowulf, Beowulf is brave, loyal and performs superhuman tasks, while, in Grendel, Beowulf is clever, self-assured, and has incredible strength. Beowulf, originally an oral narrative, was finally written in text in 700 A.D. Grendal, however, a contemporary novel, was written in 1971 by John Gardner. Close examination of the following quotes demonstrates that Beowulf is beyond doubt a true hero.


In Beowulf, the main character Beowulf would be best described as a courageous, dependable, and physically powerful man. For example, when King Hrothgar pleads to Beowulf:


“…Our only help Again lies with you Grendel’s mother is hidden in her terrible home, in a place You’ve not seen. Seek it, if you dare! Save us, once more and again twisted gold, heaped-up ancient treasure, will reward you For the battle you win!” (1376-1382).


This quote clearly says that Beowulf is the only one who can save them once more and that he is their only hope. This quote also proves Beowulf’s courage because Beowulf chooses to risk his life once again for King Hrothgar. It also verifies that Beowulf is indeed very devoted because he chooses to fulfill the rule of fealty, which says that a warrior will fight loyally to the death for the king in return for treasures from the king. Beowulf’s super natural strength is best revealed in the scene where he must battle Grendel’s mother.


“Then he saw, hanging on the wall, a heavy sword, hammered by giants, strong And blessed with their magic, the best of all weapons But so massive that no ordinary man could lift Its carved and decorated length.” (1157- 1161).


Clearly no ordinary man could have the power to lift a sword intended for an enormous beast, much less be able to strike with it and kill, except the anything but ordinary, superhuman Beowulf himself. Unmistakably, these quotes prove Beowulf’s faithfulness to his king, and his valor and astonishing might against all evil.


Beowulf in Grendel, is witty, self-confident and also puts forth extraordinary strength. For instance, when Grendel, the beast himself, says:


“Nowhere on middle-earth, I realize, have I encountered a grip like his. My whole arm’s on fire, incredible searing pain—it’s as if his crushing fingers are charged like fangs with poison.” (148).


This quote expresses that even Grendel, who fears no human, can feel Beowulf’s grip to be something of great strength that he has never in his life endured. Furthermore, Beowulf is very confident that he will triumph in his battle with Grendel. He even says:


“As you see it is, while the seeing lasts, dark nightmare-history, time-as-coffin; but where the water was rigid there will be fish, and men will survive on their flesh till spring. It’s coming, my brother. Believe it or not. Though you murder the world, turn plains to stone, transmogrify life into I and it, string searching roots will crack your cave and rain will cleanse it: The world will burn green, sperm build again. My promise. Time is in the mind, the hand that makes (fingers on harpstrings, hero-swords, the acts, the eyes of queens). By that I kill you.”(170).


This quote demonstrates Beowulf’s astuteness and confidence that he and mankind are destined to prevail over evil. These quotes from Grendel reveal Beowulf and his clever manner of thinking, his poise and amazing physical power.


Beowulf in Beowulf and Grendel portrays a hero because of his confidence, bravery, loyalty and super natural strength. He battles the toughest of beasts with confidence while showing loyalty to his king and always puts his life on the line. Not just anyone can become a hero. It requires a selected person with a distinctive gift to become a hero, and Beowulf, with out uncertainty, was a true hero of his time.