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Beowulf And Hero Essay Research Paper Beowulf

Beowulf And Hero Essay, Research Paper Beowulf is one of the oldest existing poems in the English language. Originally written in Anglo-Saxon, it has been translated to give readers the opportunity

Beowulf And Hero Essay, Research Paper

Beowulf is one of the oldest existing poems in the English language. Originally

written in Anglo-Saxon, it has been translated to give readers the opportunity

to enjoy this colorful, heroic poem of England?s epic age. It has been

declared as a heroic-elegaic poem because of the various characteristics it

clearly possesses. An epic consists of a hero who is larger than life. Beowulf

is unquestionably a perfect example of this hero because of the amazing acts of

heroism he commits. Epic characters also give numerous speeches that revel

something about the past or the speaker?s characteristics. Beowulf does not

give many, but from those he gives, the reader leans about his character traits.

The language of the epic style is an elevated, rather formal language. Similes,

kennings, and many other literary techniques are used throughout the poem.

Beowulf clearly contains many epic characteristics and the following essay will

present the evidence needed to support this allegation. Firstly, epic characters

hold high position?kings, princes, noblemen, and members of the

aristocracy?but the epic hero must be more than that. He must be able to

perform outstanding deeds, be greater than the average character, and be of

heroic proportions. Most of all, he must have super-human courage. The poet

first describes Beowulf as "…greater/And stronger than anyone anywhere in

this world" (Raffel 195-196), without informing us about what he did to

acquire this reputation. The reader initially sees him through the awestruck

eyes of the Danish soldier patrolling the cliffs. Beowulf’s appearance–his

size, his armor–obviously commands immediate respect and attention. When asked

by the soldier to identify himself and give detail of his visit, he says he is

not there to challenge Hrothgar?s power but to perform a task to the lord. He

respects the legitimacy of Hrothgar?s kingship and has no intention of

usurping the throne. He preforms in the same honorable manner when he refuses

the kingship after Hygelac?s death. He accepts the crown only after

Hygelac?s son is killed in battle. Beowulf?s super-human courage is shown

when he went into battle with Grendel, Grendel?s mother and the dragon. He

shows he is fearless when he says, ?I?d use no sword, no weapon, if this

beast/ Could be killed without it, crushed to death/Like Grendel?(Raffel

2518-2520) before he fights the dragon, which ultimately kills him. Epic

characters generally deliver numerous speeches, all of which move the action

forward, tell something about the past, or reveal the speakers character traits.

Sometimes the hero?s character traits are reveled in speeches by other

characters. Beowulf does not give many speeches, but from those he gives, a lot

is learned about his character traits. The reader learns about his character

from the speeches he makes to the soldier and to Wulfgar, the Danish warrior who

again asks the Geats to identify themselves. Beowulf–anxious to meet with

Hrothgar, from whom he hopes to receive permission to battle Grendel–is

courteous, patient, and diplomatic. Beowulf says ?That this one favor you

should not refuse me–/That I, alone and with the help of my men, /May purge all

evil from this hall?(Raffel 430-432) showing that this deed is a favor to the

people. His manner lacks the rudeness and coldness of a person whose previous

accomplishments make him feel superior to other people. His fame as the world’s

bravest person hasn’t gone to his head. The language used in epic style poems is

that of a higher language. The epic poet makes use of literary techniques such

as similes and kennings. For example, ?The ship foamed through the sea like a

bird? (Raffel 218) is one of the similes that can be found in this poem. The

poet is comparing the motion of the ship to the movement of a bird. An example

of a kenning would be ??after nightfall, when Hrothgar withdrew from

the/Hall? (Raffel 1234-1235). Kennings are compound words that describe

something by its characteristics. These literary techniques make the language of

an epic a rather elevated, formal language. Beowulf clearly contains the

elements needed to classify it as an epic. Not only does it contain a larger

than life hero that delivers numerous speeches that reveal his character and a

higher class language, but it also possess many other characteristics that are

important to an epic. Originally written in Anglo-Saxon, Old-English , it has

been translated for all to enjoy.

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