Did Beowulf truly obtain the qualities of an epic hero? In the epic poem Beowulf, Beowulf’s character traits prove to be the depiction of an epic hero. Beowulf’s traits of boastfulness, bravery and amazing strength are the proof of his heroism.
Beowulf’s boastfulness may not be the most convincing heroic trait, but it certainly was important to the people of his time. Beowulf boasted to Unferth to clarify Unferth’s misunderstanding of a swimming event between Beowulf and Breca, in which they swam out to sea and remained there for five nights. Beowulf informed Breca of how they were seperated after five nights in a storm. He boasted of the nine sea monsters he slayed while he floated about. Beowulf boasted to Hygelac of his victories over Grendel and his mother while he was in Danes’ land. He also boasted to Wiglaf in his dying words. ie line 1889 “I have ruled the Geats for fifty winters ; no king of any neighbouring tribe has dared attack me with swords, or sought to cow and subdue me.” In Anglo Saxon time, any hero or persons of great accomplishments were expected to boast to express their greatness.
Bravery was a greater aspect of Beowulf’s heroic traits. Beowulf was very brave to fight Grendel. Grendel was a tremendously feared monster by the Danes. Beowulf fought him with no armor or protection of any kind, for reasons stated in line 588, ” I count myself no less active in battle, no less brave than Grendel himself; thus, I will not send him to sleep with my sword.” Beowulf proved himself even braver by coming to fight a monster he knew nothing about. He only heard of a hellish monster’s crimes, thus sailed over the sea to assist the famous leader, the warrior king. Beowulf’s bravery appeared again when he set out to kill Grendel’s mother. She lived in a lair at the bottom of a horrible lake which no man would think of entering. Beowulf entered the blood boiling waters with no hesitation. He swam for twenty four hours before he reached the monsters’ lair. There he met Grendel’s mother who brutally attacked him. As shown in line 1239, “The woven corslet that covered his shoulders saved Beowulf’s life.” Even after being almost killed by Grendel’s mother the brave Beowulf stayed to finish the fight. Beowulf was a very brave character and would never give up or scare away from any challenge.
Beowulf’s most heroic trait was his amazing strength. He displayed his amazing strength when he fought Grendel and his mother. An outstanding display of strength was shown in his battle with Grendle in line722, ” Hygelac’s brave kinsman held his hand in a vise like grip; each was a mortal enemy to the other . The horrible monster suffered grievous pain; a gaping wound opened on his shoulder; the sinews sprang apart,” By tearing off Grendel’s arm, Beowulf showed his emense strength. By swimming straight down for twenty four hours to reach the monsters lair without a breath for air, Beowulf proved that he was a man off amazing strength and endurance. Beowulf maintained the status of an amazing man in the water when he spent five nights at sea and, with a sword in his hand killed nine sea monsters. Weather he was ripping off a monster’s arm or swimming for twenty four hours without a breath, Beowulf proved himself the most powerful man in all the lands.
In the epic poem Beowulf, Beowulf’s amazing power, bravery and boastfulness made him an epic hero to everyone who knew of him. By ruling the Geats for fifty years and maintaining peace and happiness, Beowulf made himself an extrordinary hero to all.