Homework Help

As seen in the epic Beowulf, why did Beowulf fight Grendel with his bare hands?

user profile pic

user9054886 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 24, 2013 at 1:17 PM via web

dislike 1 like

As seen in the epic Beowulf, why did Beowulf fight Grendel with his bare hands?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 24, 2013 at 2:09 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The epic of Beowulf illustrates the characteristics of the epic hero through the battles fought by Beowulf. Beowulf knows that Grendel uses no weapons, only his bear hands. As a true hero, Beowulf decides to do the same.

This equality is based upon the ideas of aristeia and superari a superiore. Aristeia refers to the nobility of a person, and superari a superiore refers to success over a superior foe. If Beowulf would have used a weapon over Grendel, the weapon would have provided Beowulf an edge (making Beowulf the superior fighter). In order to equal the field, Beowulf did not use any weapons. This speaks to his nobility and honor as a true epic hero. 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes