What are the characteristics of Beowulf?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Beowulf is an Anglo Saxon hero that has inspired many similar heroes.  Being an Anglo Saxon hero means that Beowulf is immediately three things: a young, white, male.  That's really no different than current pop culture heroes (Luke Skywalker, Captain America, Thor, Green Lantern, Wolverine, Jason Bourne, James Bond, Harry Potter, etc.).  

In addition to being a young white male, Beowulf is a "manly man" with really big muscles (he did rip off Grendel's arms).  He is a mighty warrior, and people recognize that right away.  

Nor have I seen

A mightier man-at-arms on this earth

Than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken,

He is truly noble.  This is no mere                             

Hanger-on in a hero’s armour.

Beowulf is also brave.  He has to be in order to willingly face a man eating monster who is supposedly descended from the line of Cain.  

On top of all of Beowulf's awesomeness is his humility.  People like him, because he's a nice guy too.  He's not stuck on himself.  He is not a warrior for personal glory.  He's a warrior because he genuinely wants to help people.  

"The mildest of men and the gentlest, kindest to his people, . . ."