"Beowulf" is the oldest surviving English epic poem, written sometime in the 7th or 8th century. It is about the great Scandinavian hero Beowulf's journey to free
Denmark by slaying the ogre, Grendel. Beowulf
is made king of Geatland, his homeland, but is
eventually killed by a fire-breathing dragon. The
only known manuscript is in the British Museum in London. It is written in Old English, but
translations can be found on the Internet. The name of the poet who wrote Beowulf is unknown.|
Matt Killenbeck writes:
After reading the story of
"Beowulf," I think Beowulf is my hero. The story
described a perfect hero. He was strong, an outstanding
fighter and very loyal to all who came into his presence.
The story gives examples of his great courage and his fierce
strength. In the story, Beowulf took on sea monsters and crushed them in his grip. When Beowulf
went into battle, he believed in a fair fight. He believed that no fighter should have the upper hand.
With his skills and talent, he can overcome all. He fears no enemy. When fighting Grendel, a
monster who has been terrorizing a village in the story, Beowulf fights hand-to-hand. This feat took great
courage and skillful fighting. Beowulf fought many great battles. In his last battle, Beowulf was
fatally wounded, but he won the battle before he died. This was the fall of a great hero.
Last, Beowulf was a very loyal hero. He showed fairness to all he came across, including his
enemies. He believed that everybody was equal and no one was greater or better than anybody
else. While in battle, Beowulf showed great loyalty to his enemies by fighting one-on-one. Neither
he nor his foes had the upper hand. This is the major factor in Beowulf's greatness. Beowulf was also a hero
because he fended-off Grendel and stopped him from killing any more of Hrothgar's men. This
showed his great loyalty to Hrothgar and his people.
In conclusion, Beowulf is my hero because of his outstanding fighting skills, his great strength,
and finally his great loyalty. These are all major traits of a great hero.
Rick Orci wrote to MY HERO with the following comment:
I'm a Beowulf fan as well and just wanted to make a comment. Beowulf didn't always
fight hand-to-hand ("fairly"). In fact the interesting thing about the story is that as
Beowulf becomes more and more reliant on material goods (such as people, treasure,
weapons, etc.), he becomes more distant from the spiritual(this is actually his undoing).
As the 3 battles Beowulf takes part in progress, he attains more material goods. In the
first battle against Grendel, he kills him with his bare hands. In the 2nd battle against
Grendel's mother, he brings (hrunti?) the sword given to him. Not only does he rely on
this sword, but it fails him and he is forced to use a giant's sword found within the lair.
In the 3rd battle, he becomes even more reliant and requires Wiglaf to help him. As you
can see, Beowulf becomes weaker the more he relies on material objects instead of his spiritual
faith. This is actually Beowulf's undoing in my opinion. This is elucidated by the
narrator at the end of the story when he refers to the now buried treasure as "useless as
it was before."
Thanks for listening J.R. Orci
If you liked reading "Beowulf," you might also like John Gardner's novel Grendel, which tells the story from the point of view of the monster.