Beowulf is one of the first epic heroes that can be found in ancient literature. His brave and noble character helps him defeat evil monsters that killed the Danes and Geats. Beowulf is strong and loyal to his kings. He does everything possible to improve the life of the people around him.
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Epic heroes have common traits that make them recognizable. As a rule, they come from a noble family. It does not necessarily mean that they are the king’s relatives. Being a descendant of a people of power was also considered as a noble origin. Beowulf fulfills this requirement because Hygelac, the King of the Geats, is his uncle. Moreover, he becomes the heir to the throne when Hygelac and Heardred, his son, die in battle.
Second, epic heroes are always endowed with superhuman strength and blameless bravery. Beowulf is the strongest of the Geats. The author provides considerable evidence of his power. He killed nine sea monsters while swimming and tore Grendel’s hand off with bare hands. In the end, his sword broke against the dragon’s head because “his hand was too strong.” Beowulf is also very brave. He believes that “fate will unwind as it must,” and even if he dies, it is God’s will.
Friendship and loyalty are the third critical feature of an epic hero. Beowulf never betrayed anyone and even risked his life to remain loyal to King Hrothgar. He asks his friend Wiglaf to become the next king after his death and presents him with his gold necklace.
Finally, epic heroes use their power only for the benefit of people. They are the protectors and the saviors.
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