Beowulf- Epic Essay, Research Paper
Epic poems and fairy tales have many similarities. An epic poem is a long narrative poem that deals with great heroes and adventures, and involves supernatural forces. A fairy tale is a story dealing with beings with magical powers. In fairy tales, characters can do the impossible. In the epic poem, Beowulf, we see many examples which allow us the call this story a fairy tale. The super-human physical strength that Beowulf possesses is nearly unfeasible. Also, Beowulf is able singlehandedly to kill the monster, Grendel, who has been terrorizing the mead hall for so long.
Beowulf is portrayed as an invincible warrior with all the traits required for a hero. His physical strength is far greater than that of any other warrior. Beowulf swam in a five day swimming match with Breca across the entire sea. It is a physical impossibility to swim across a cold, rough ocean for five days without food or drinking water. Beowulf said that during the race, nicors, or sea-monsters, attacked him. He said that he killed nine of the huge monsters himself with his hands and sword. Beowulf says that he has the power of twenty men in his arm alone. It is an inhuman characteristic to be that strong. Only a fantasy character can possess that great strength. Beowulf encounters hideous monsters and the most ferocious of beasts but, unlike the mortal man, he never fears them, because he knows that he can kill them.
Beowulf comes to the Danes to help them kill Grendel, a monster who has been terrorizing the mead hall. Grendel is portrayed to symbolize all evil. He is corrupt and a descendent of the cursed tribe of Cain. None of the warriors of the Danes were able to kill Grendel. Grendel cannot be killed with a sword or any other weapon. Beowulf decides that he wants to kill Grendel with his bare hands and wants none of his other men to help him. He accomplishes this by tearing Grendel s arm out from his body. It is hard to believe that Beowulf was able to kill Grendel with his own hands while, for a long time, many of the strongest Danes tried and failed.
Beowulf s bravery and strength surpasses that of all mortal men. He is a fairy tale-like figure as is demonstrated when he killed Grendel, a feat that nobody else could accomplish. He can be compared to a Greek mythological character such as Hercules. Beowulf is described as a legendary hero, conquering all obstacles as though he were immortal like a god.