During the Anglo-Saxon period, people worshipped heroes. Beowulf is the prime example of an Anglo-Saxon hero. He embodies the conduct that the Anglo-Saxons of that time admired and also used as model of perfection. His strength, his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own, and the fact that he does not fear death makes him revered by all, especially those of his time. Unlike the Greek hero who follows his fate, making serious mistakes and having fairly simple life, the Anglo-Saxon “super” hero tries and may succeed, to change his fate, while dealing with a fairly complex life.
Beowulf is described as a perfect hero who fights for his people and vanquishes evil with his extraordinary abilities to bring peace and justice. Three of Beowulf’s traits that support this are his amazing physical strength, his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own, and the fact that he does not fear death.
Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his amazing physical strength. He fought in numerous battles and returned victorious from all but his last. Beowulf is strong enough to kill the monster Grendel, who has been terrorizing the Danes for twelve years, with his bare hands by ripping off his arm. When Beowulf is fighting Grendel’s mother, who is seeking revenge on her son’s death, he is able to slay her by slashing the monster’s neck with a Giant’s sword that can only be lifted by a person as strong as Beowulf. When he chops off her head, he carries it from the ocean with ease, but it takes four men to lift and carry it back to Herot (1635-1637).
Beowulf’s uncle is king of Geats so he is sent to help rid the Danes of the evil Grendel. Beowulf risks his own life for the Danes, asking help from no one. He realizes the danger but fears nothing for his own life. After Beowulf has served his people as King of Geats for fifty years, he goes to battle one last time to fight a horrible dragon that is frightening all of his people. Beowulf is old and tired but he defeats the dragon in order to protect his people. Even in death he wished to secure safety for the Geats so a tall lighthouse is built in order to help the people find their way back from sea (2739-2750)
The most heroic of traits within Beowulf is that he is not afraid to die. He always explains his death wishes before going into battle and requests to have any assets delivered to his people. He is aware of the heroic paradox, he will be glorified in life or death for his actions. He knows that when he fights an enemy like Grendel and Grendel’s mother he will achieve immortality as the victor or the loser. Even with Beowulf’s enormous amount of confidence, he understands that Fate will work its magic no matter what and he could be killed at any point in his life. He faces that reality by showing no fear and preparing for a positive or fatal outcome.