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How does Beowulf protect his people throughout the poem Beowulf?

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Part of the reason Beowulf is an epic hero is that he performs heroic deeds not just for his own reputation but also for the good of his people. The poem illustrates Beowulf's concern for both his own people—the Geats—and those of Hrothgar—the Danes.

Early in the poem, Beowulf travels to Hrothgar's kingdom to fight the beast Grendel, who has been terrorizing the land for years. Beowulf volunteers for this task and presents himself as the only person who could end the tragedy that has befallen Denmark. In defeating Grendel and putting his own life in serious danger, Beowulf saves the Danes from the threat. He resolves what Hrothgar calls their "constant distress" (line 937).

Beowulf further protects the Danes when Grendel's mother comes to avenge her son's death. She kills Hrothgar's best adviser, so Beowulf goes down to her cave, alone, again putting himself in grave danger for the common good. Hrothgar tells Beowulf, "help depends / again on you and you alone" (lines 1376-77). His...

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