Who Is The Real Hero? Essay, Research Paper
Who is the real hero in Beowulf or Grendel? Grendel? A monster from the depths who consumes humans as a daily diet and strives to find a meaning in life? Or Beowulf? A warrior raised by a king whose arrogance and courage landed him a throne of his own? Points of view in both stories are very distinct. Grendel seemed much more intellectual from his point of view. The author did not portray him as a cold-blooded monster as you would expect. Beowulf’s character was supported by bravery and integrity. The author almost seemed to describe him as a god in his actions. But I think Beowulf is the real hero because in the story he presents himself with rectitude, stays true to his people and his king, and risks his life for others.
Throughout this mythical story, Beowulf is depicted as a hero in the battle between good and evil. Over time, it has been a constant struggle between good and evil. In most stories the hero struggles, yet defeats the evil. Beowulf’s image was perfectly composed through the words of the author. “I never saw in the world a greater earl than one of your band is, a hero in his harness. He is no mere retainer decked out with weapons, unless his face belies him, his excellent front (5).” This passage takes place when the watchman of the Scyldings first sees Beowulf and his men. These are the watchman’s thoughts as Beowulf approaches. He has never seen a man of Beowulf’s size and is overwhelmed by his shiny armor. This is the first time in the story where the author describes Beowulf’s physical features. The author introduces Beowulf’s presence as majestic and noble.
Beowulf always places God, the king, and the people before himself. He is a very respectful warrior, who completes his deeds with humility. Beowulf does not expect anything in repayment for his work, he simply does it out of dignity and pride in himself. “If thou comest away alive, I will reward thee for that onslaught with treasures (25).” Then Beowulf speaks in reply. “Sorrow not, wise warrior. It is better for each to avenge his friend than greatly to mourn (25).” At this point in the story king Hrothgar mourns the loss of his good friend Aeschere. He proceeds to bribe Beowulf with treasures to find Grendel’s mother and slay her for the viscous act. Beowulf replies by comforting Hrothgar and promising revenge, because avenging a death is better than mourning a death.
Beowulf does not risk his life for reward or boasting rights, but out of his own personal dignity. He knows that if he does not succeed in victory then others will fail after him. Beowulf’s arrogance and pride in himself helped him to achieve victory against the worst of evil alone. ” No whit did his comrades, sons of chieftains, stand about him in a band with valour, but they took to the wood, they hid for their lives (47).” This is when Beowulf senses his weakness as an old man fighting a horrid beast. His men flee from the dragon’s wrath, yet Beowulf still stands his ground. He is willing to die as a king to save his people. At this point Beowulf senses his death, and knows he is no match dragon. But at the end of the story victory favors the hero. Though Beowulf dies he is a legend to his people and will be embraced with honor and respect from future generations.