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What are some examples of Beowulf being a good hero in Beowulf?

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bbcharles | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2010 at 10:38 PM via web

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What are some examples of Beowulf being a good hero in Beowulf?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:35 AM (Answer #1)

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Isn't every hero a good hero?  That being the case, I think, here are a few ways Beowulf is a hero:

  1. He is self-less.  Beowulf crosses the waters to go help someone he's never met and has no real connection to but is in need.  It's simple--he knows he can help, so he does.
  2. He is brave.  When he faces all three monsters in this epic, he does so fearlessly.
  3. He is honorable.  He takes on Grendel without any weapons because that's how Grendel fights.  Hard to believe he feels a sense of honor even when fighting a monster that has no remorse about killing himans on a regular basis. But he does.
  4. He is quick to give others honor.  Despite his rather, shall we say, strong sense of his own accomplishments, Beowulf still honors others.  He mourns for the soldier he lost, he honors Hygelac with some of the treasure he received from Hrothgar, and he is even gracious to the man who insulted him, Unferth.

This should get you started.  Think of all the heroic figures in real life, in TV and movies, as well as the classic comic book heroes such as Superman; then make a list of all their positive traits.  Bet you'll find even more heroic characteristics for Beowulf.  Happy searching!

Lori Steinbach

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