How is Beowulf typical of an epic hero?Yes, I'm trying to reflect on the characteristics of an epic hero and how Beowulf is typical of an epic hero.  I'm also trying to consider other...

How is Beowulf typical of an epic hero?

Yes, I'm trying to reflect on the characteristics of an epic hero and how Beowulf is typical of an epic hero.  I'm also trying to consider other characters that are in the poem such as Hrothgar, Wiglaf, and Beowulf's men.  I'm not really understanding the ways they live up to or fail to live up to the image of a epic hero.

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning his being an epic hero, Beowulf, from Beowulf, is larger than life, fierce in combat, loyal, honorable, and wants to be remembered for his great deeds, and will be, according to the narrative. 

Beowulf is a great warrior, undefeated in battle.  For the sake of glory, he travels to a foreign land to rid it of a monster.  He goes into Grendel's mother's lair and defeats her, and he is the only man willing to fight the dragon.

The poem is Beowulf's poem.  As such, he is the only epic hero in it.  If there were an equal, he would not be seen as so special.  Hrothgar and his men suffer defeat at the hands of Grendel for 11 years going on twelve.  They are not epic heroes.

Beowulf's men don't do anything to disqualify themselves from being epic heroes--except for the one that get's eaten.  But they are not detailed enough to be epic heroes, either.  The poem just doesn't spend enough time focusing on them.  They don't do the deeds Beowulf does.

Besides, no one else in the play can speechify as well as Beowulf.  And that, too, seems to be required of most epic heroes.