Epic heroes usually exemplify traits most admire in their societies, and Beowulf is no exception. Beowulf is set in the Anglo-Saxon society, a time when war was common between people trying to conquer different kingdoms in England. Also, during that time Christianity and pagan views were popular. There were various Christian references and elements that can be interpreted within the text. An example of this is the reference to the biblical figure Cain being a related figure to a despise of the kingdom.
Beowulf is successful in upholding both the heroic and Christian ideals.
Beowulf has the traditional characteristics of an epic hero. Even though he is famous for his massive strength, he has other attributes that are noticeable other than his strength. The attributes, mentally strong, bravery, and a strong love for his people are what make Beowulf become such a powerful, epic hero. Bravery is his most underrated strengths. For example, even having been told all of those horror stories that he hears about Grendel, he still fights the cursed beast without any hesitation.
His dedication to the people was shown when he was not a member of the clan he still fought for them.
His mental strength was tested after all of those wars, but he calmly took it and got stronger after every one. In an epic it is usually found that the hero often determines the fate of a nation or group of people based on their strengths. Throughout the poem Beowulf relied on God to get through hard times. Even though Beowulf had much to be proud of, he knew his true place. He was under God first and King’s second. For example, when finally the adventures band of warriors finished the journey over the sea; the first thing Beowulf did was thank God for their safe journey.
Another example is when before his battle w/ Grendel, Beowulf prayed to God. In that prayer Beowulf asked God to award either Grendal or himself the victory, as the “Ruler-all-wise” saw fit. The battle with the dragon was described as fierce and at one point the lord of the Geats is not too confident about being victorious in battle with the dragon. During the battle all of Beowulf’s men deserted him except one, Wiglaf. The dragon was eventually killed by Beowulf, but Beowulf took a lot of damage. Beowulf died not soon after and left his orders with Wiglaf. He wanted to be buried with his treasures and that of the dragon.
Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities: epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They show great bravery, intelligence, strength and resourcefulness. They have a strong admiration for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they conquer evil. Beowulf sjows all of these traits of an epic hero, and more. He did that with his physical strength, belief in god, and the battle with the dragon. These characteristics led me to believe, Beowulf is successful in upholding both the heroic and Christian ideals.