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Hamlet Essay, Research Paper

Eric Hopper

Beowulf Essay


Brit. Lit. M,W,F 10:00

Beowulf?s Heroic Qualities

The epic hero, Beowulf the Geat, shows a lot of qualities of a born king. In this epic poem, Beowulf overcomes the fact that his father was exiled and becomes a great man. He gains the loyalty and devotion of his men and defends good from evil. He was portrayed as being almost invincible, having the strength of three men and successful in battle. To be a good king, a person must possess leadership, inspire confidence, and demonstrate compassion. In this poem, Beowulf showed all the qualities that made him not only a good hero, but also a great king.

First of all, Beowulf shows the makings of a good king because he displays leadership. As shown in the story, Beowulf led a band of fourteen Geats to the land of Scyldings when he heard of Hrothgar?s problem. The fact that he was able to gather fourteen loyal men to follow him across open seas to face a ?monster? of great powers demonstrates that his men believed in him and his determination for good. Other examples of leadership skills were shown at the first battle at the Great Halls of Heorot and later at the battle of Grendel?s Dam. In facing these challenges illustrated leadership and bravery in battle.

Another important characteristic of a good king is to carry himself honorably and earn the respect of others. An example of this would be when

Beowulf first arrived at Hrothor?s castle. Beowulf and his band of men presented themselves in shining armor, shields, and weapons, much to the delight of the king. Beowulf knew how to dress and carry himself with prestige and honor. When he came to talk to the king, he boasted about his lineage and put the honor of his people and his father, Ecgtheow, on the line. ?Whomever death would take must trust in God?s judgment (Beowulf 32)?. These lines showed that he was humble, but trust that God is on his side for he is doing a good deed by killing the evil that invaded Heorot. Additionally, Beowulf was able to earn the respect of others. An example of this was during the merry feast at Heorot, the night of the first battle. Unferth begin to hassle Beowulf as he was boasting about his past battle with the fierce sea-creatures during a swimming match with Brecca. Unferth claimed that his story was false and that Brecca was the winner of the swim contest. Without breaking a sweat, Beowulf turned Unferth?s claim into a drunken man?s bluff. Beowulf retaliated by pointing out the fact that if Unferth were as brave as his boast, Grendel would not threaten the halls of Heorot. In the end, Unferth was made to look weak and jealous of Beowulf in front of others. Beowulf illustrated that he was able to control any conversation and gain people?s confidence in him.

Lastly, a good king must show compassion. Beowulf displays this by helping others in their time of need. With the consent of lord, he traveled to the far off shores of Scyldings and heroically protects and saves the Danes from Grendel. Even though Beowulf had no responsibility to protect Hrothgar, he

valiantly guarded Hrothgar?s Heorot from Grendel?s mother when she came the next night to avenge Grendel?s death. In these battles, Beowulf faced ?monsters? with superhuman strength. As told before, Grendel(Shown in figure to right) was fierce and killed countless thanes of the kings; but with leadership and courage he lead his men into battle against these great odds. These are the deeds of a leader and a great king.

In order for to be a leader or king, one must possess leadership, inspire confidence, demonstrate compassion, and against all odds, fight for good. Beowulf of Geats was a man that possessed all these. He demonstrated these qualities many times during the course of this story. This epic eventually tells that Beowulf was indeed a great king until his death when he the defended his land from evil and killed the mighty dragon.

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